Thursday, January 31, 2008

Spice May Raise Dubai Listing; Posturing For a Pan-India License?

By Rafat Ali – Friday, 25 January 2008
Spice, who operates in India via a JV with Telekom Malaysia, which holds 39.2% stake, plans to raise $500 million through a Dubai IPO. According to
this Bloomberg report, this would make it the first Indian company to sell shares in the Middle East. They plan to shed off 20 percent in the second half of 2009. Funds raised will be used to sell handsets and wireless services including ringtones, mobile entertainment news and also for M&A.
Financial products that adhere to
Islamic laws raised $250 billion globally as of December. The Modi’s, who hold 40% stake, plan to use the money to expand from Iran to Indonesia. For those interested in switching jobs, Spice plans to hire 8,000 employees this year, bringing the total to 20,000.
Modi also adds that Vodafone (NYSE: VOD), AT&T, Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and China Mobile had offered to buy Spice. The Modi’s were not open to the offer since criteria for most was 51%. All the three operators refused to comment on Modi’s quotes.
Spice also plans to list its VAS and retail unit, Cellebrum and Hotspot respectively, in May or June this year on the Singapore and Bombay stock exchange.
Spice has a market value of $748.8 million and operates in 2 of 23 telecom zones in India. We had previously covered Spice moving TDSAT on the DoT’s refusal to give it a pan-India license, reason being, not enough networth.
The agency report gives a valuation of $500 million for 20% stake of the company. Giving the company a valuation of $2.5 billion. Looks like the Modi’s are building a case for a pan India license by raising networth and building out their network to scale against Bharti and Vodafone.