Maxis plans to sell Aircel, in talks with bankers

Telecom Lead India: Due to regulatory uncertainty and
involvement of top officials in a telecom scandal in India,
Malaysia’s Maxis is mulling over selling its Indian unit, Aircel.

Authorities in India are also probing Maxis’ founder
T Ananda Krishnan along with top officials for alleged involvement in
a telecom scandal.

Maxim also held preliminary discussions with bankers
representing Russia’s Sistema. Sistema is operating in the Indian market
with a joint venture with Shyam Group, in which it owns a 56.68 percent stake.

  The discussions could be considered serious only
if they reach a stage where the potential suitor begins a due diligence of
Aircel’s accounts,” said an executive close to Maxis with direct knowledge
of the discussions.

Maxis came across many potential permutations and
combinations for mergers and strategic alliances, including Russia’s Sistema.

Maxis Communications owns 74 percent of Aircel, with the
balance held by India’s Sindya Securities and Investments.

The executive also added that Maxis was upset with the
way the investigating agencies had dragged Krishnan and other top officials
into the probe.

The CBI is probing Sivasankaran’s charge and involvement
of T Ananda Krishnan in the matter.

Serial entrepreneur and founder of Aircel C Sivasankaran
alleged that he was pressurized to sell Aircel to Maxis by former telecom
minister Dayanadhi Maran.

The Central Bureau of Investigation is also probing the
way Maxis’ subsidiary made a quid pro quo investment of Rs 550 crore in a DTH
company owned by the Maran family in return for the ex-minister’s role in the
Aircel transaction.


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