Reliance Comm puts telecom units up for sale -sources

BEIJING Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:29am EST

BEIJING Dec 14 (Reuters) - India's Reliance Communications (RLCM.BO) is looking to sell an undersea fiber optic network and a related U.S. business, hoping to raise around $3 billion in cash, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Reliance acquired its FLAG network, which lies at the heart of its global operations, in 2003 for $207 million, and now sells both capacity on the network as well as more lucrative telecoms services to other carriers and companies around the world.

The FLAG business, which stands for Fiber-optic Loop Around the Globe, is run by Reliance Globalcom, the company's overseas arm. Reliance is also selling YIPES, a California-based ethernet service provider it bought in 2007.

A Reliance spokesman who did not want to be named said: "We vehemently deny these speculations and rumours."

Three sources with direct knowledge of the sale said that Reliance had hired a bank to advise on the auction, and that bids were due in late January.

The adviser is shopping the assets to Japan's KDDI (9433.T) and U.S. operators AT&T (T.N) and Verizon (VZ.N), the sources said.

(Reporting by Doug Young; Additional reporting by Michael Flaherty in HONG KONG and Janaki Krishnan and Narayanan Somasundaram in MUMBAI; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)

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