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Mon, Dec 13, 2004 - Page 12 News List

Telekom Malaysia,Singapore, to buy Idea Cellular stake

BLOOMBERG

The government of Singapore and Telekom Malaysia Bhd agreed to buy a 48 percent stake in India's Idea Cellular from three companies for US$390 million to tap into India's wireless market.

US-based Cingular Wireless will sell the biggest stake, a 33 percent holding in closely held Idea Cellular, for about US$200 million. Singapore Technologies and Telekom Malaysia will buy the remainder from India's Tata Group and Aditya Birla Group, the companies said in a joint statement on Saturday.

Singapore Technologies, a unit of the Singapore government, and Telekom Malaysia, are seeking to expand their presence in Asia's wireless markets. Telekom Malay-sia, which is Southeast Asia's second-largest phone company, said in October it wants to regain its No. 1 position in Malaysia's mobile-phone market and make acquisitions in other countries.

Idea Cellular, which has more than 4.3 million subscribers, is located in Pune,Maharashtra state.

Cingular decided to sell its stake, which was part of its US$41.3 billion purchase of AT&T Wireless Servicesin October, as it focuses on maintaining its lead in the US market, said a spokesman.

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