Indian High Court approves Unitech Wireless sell-off, company claims

Unitech Wireless says it has been given the go-ahead by the Delhi High Court to auction off its assets in India.

The operator is 67% owned by Norway’s Telenor, with Indian property developer Unitech holding the remaining shares. But the two partners have fallen out over the valuation of the business and disagree on how to proceed.

Telenor thinks an open auction will resolve the problem. It plans to form another Indian company and bid for Unitech Wireless assets during that auction. Unitech, however, is opposed to the auction process.

Unitech Wireless says it has been given the go-ahead by the Delhi High Court to auction off its assets in India.

The operator is 67% owned by Norway’s Telenor, with Indian property developer Unitech holding the remaining shares. But the two partners have fallen out over the valuation of the business and disagree on how to proceed.

Telenor thinks an open auction will resolve the problem. It plans to form another Indian company and bid for Unitech Wireless assets during that auction. Unitech, however, is opposed to the auction process.

The dispute between the two shareholders dates back to India’s auction of 2G telecoms licenses in 2008. The Supreme Court of India subsequently found that many licenses had been sold for a fraction of their true value and cancelled as many as 122 of them, including the 22 that had been won by Unitech Wireless. Telenor bought into the business only after the 2G auction had finished.

Unitech Wireless ignored Unitech last week when it invited bids for the auction of its assets. Unitech has complained to the Company Law Board, which decides on corporate disputes in India and is set to hear details of the case later this week.

This week’s High Court ruling, however, appears to pre-empt any decision the Company Law Board might take.