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    Jio, Airtel 2 others eye Reliance Communications assets as bids open today

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    Bitter telecom rivals Reliance Jio Infocomm and Bharti Airte, besides private equity firm Varde Partners and infrastructure-focused  I Squared Capital fund, are set to compete for Reliance Communications’ assets, bids for which will be opened Monday.

    “Monday is the last day for submitting bids and the bids will be opened on that day itself,” said a person familiar with the matter.

    While Airtel and Jio are expected to bid mainly for RCom’s 850 MHz spectrum, I Squared Capital is likely to vie for the telco’s data centres and optic fibre assets. RCom’s 43,000 towers, housed under Reliance Infratel, are also up for sale.

    According to people aware of the matter, UV Asset Reconstruction Company may also bid for RCom’s assets.

    The bankrupt telco’s resolution professional from Deloitte and members of its committee of creditors (CoC) are scheduled to open the bids. The telco’s total secured debt is estimated at Rs 33,000 crore. Proceeds from the sale would be used for repaying creditors.

    Meanwhile, on Sunday, RCom said its CoC had rejected the resignation of chairman Anil Ambani and four other directors. The lenders have asked them to cooperate in the ongoing corporate insolvency resolution process.

    “(The committee had) expressed a unanimous view that the resignations cannot be accepted,” stated the telco in a regulatory filing. “It is being duly communicated to the aforesaid directors of RCom that their resignations have not been accepted and they are advised to continue to perform their duties and responsibilities as the directors of RCom and provide all cooperation to resolution professional in the corporate insolvency resolution process,” it said.

    The insolvency process itself appears to be in the last stages with bids set to be opened. The resolution professional needs to complete the sale by January 10, 2020.

    Airtel, which had put in a bid some days ago only to withdraw it after the bidding deadline was extended by 10 days to accommodate Jio, is believed to be bidding only for spectrum.

    While withdrawing its initial bid, Airtel had alleged that the process was unfair as it wasn’t granted an extension when it had also sought one earlier.

    Airtel did not comment to ET’s queries on its renewed interest for the assets. I Squared Capital, UVARCL and Jio did not respond to ET’s queries until press time Sunday. “We are bound by confidentiality obligations and are unable to comment on client-specific matters,” said Deloitte spokesperson. Varde Partners declined to comment.

    RCom recently posted a loss of of Rs 30,142 crore, the second worst in corporate India behind Vodafone Idea. It has been waging legal battles against the telecom department and other operational creditors over dues. Lenders financial and operational are reckoned to have put in claims worth almost Rs 90,000 crore against the telco.

    The bankrupt telco’s resolution professional from Deloitte and members of its committee of creditors (CoC) are scheduled to open the bids. The telco’s total secured debt is estimated at Rs 33,000 crore. Proceeds from the sale would be used for repaying creditors.

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