Reliance's talks with Batelco to sell Globalcom end with no deal

Reliance Communications' move to sell off a large stake of its Globalcom unit has stalled again as its talks with Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) ended without a deal being struck.

"Batelco is no longer in discussions with Reliance regarding a direct or indirect investment in Reliance Globalcom," Osama Al Saad, a Batelco spokesman said on Saturday in a statement.

This is another blow for Reliance, which hoped that the sale of the Globalcom assets--in addition to a recent $221 million deal to provide dark fiber for Reliance Industries' proposed 4G wireless network--would help pay down more of its $7 billion of debt.

Citing unnamed sources, a number of reports in March emerged that Batelco was the latest suitor interested in purchasing an 80 percent stake in Reliance's Globalcom subsidiary for INR 60 billion (USD 1.09 billion).

Before Batelco emerged as a possible suitor, Reliance decided not to pursue an initial public offering of its Flag Telecom submarine cable unit due to what it says were "unfavorable" market conditions. 

In a letter it issued on its website, Reliance wrote that it is in advanced talks with Samena Capital Management LLP and a consortium of other unnamed private equity investors "in relation to the acquisition of Reliance Globalcom."  

Reliance wrote that "The intended time line for completion is end of May 2013." However, it cautioned that "there can be no certainty that this will lead to a transaction."

For more:
- see the letter (.pdf)
- Wall Street Journal has this article (sub req.)
- The Economic Times has this article

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