Telecom dream: India's richest man Mukesh Ambani
INDIA’S richest man Mukesh Ambani will return to the country’s telecom sector in a move that puts him in direct competition with his younger brother Anil with whom he had a long and bitter feud.
Mukesh’s Reliance Industries said in a statement it would buy out Infotel Broadband, the only company to win a nationwide licence in India’s auction of its broadband wireless spectrum which ended on Friday (June 11).
With this move, Reliance re-enters India’s telecom sector after a gap of five years.
The Ambanis, who were at loggerheads since their family empire was split in 2005, made up last month, bringing an end to their acrimonious and highly public feud.
In the asset split, Mukesh kept the oil, gas and petrochemical businesses of the group’s flagship Reliance Industries, while Anil got the telecom business, its power utility division and financial services arm.
Anil’s Reliance Communications is India’s second largest mobile phone firm. It was run by the Ambani brothers jointly before their late father’s business empire was divided between them.
Mukesh was barred from entering the telecom sector due to a family pact signed earlier with Anil when the empire was carved up.
Last month, the two Reliance groups agreed to scrap the contentious business pact signed in 2006, which had fuelled the acrimonious row between the brothers, giving them freedom to operate in several sectors.
Reliance said it would pay Rs48bn ($1bn/£678m) for a 95-per cent stake in Punjab-based Infotel, giving it a strong foothold in India’s expanding wireless revolution.
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