India's Viom looking to raise funds via stake sale or overseas IPO - sources

MUMBAI, April 28 Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:23am EDT

MUMBAI, April 28 (Reuters) - Viom Networks Ltd, an Indian phone tower operator majority owned by the Tata group, is looking to raise funds either through a stake sale or an overseas listing that could raise up to $350 million, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Malaysia's Axiata Group Bhd, U.S.-headquartered tower operator American Tower Corp, which operates in India, and a couple of private equity firms are among the possible bidders for the Viom stake, the sources said.

Tata Teleservices Ltd, India's No.7 mobile phone carrier by users, owns about 54 percent of Viom, which operates more than 40,000 mobile phone masts. Indian infrastructure financier SREI Group holds about 18 percent.

Four private equity investors including Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and Oman Investment Fund own the rest of the company.

Viom is exploring an overseas initial public offering either on the New York Stock Exchange or the London Stock Exchange, the company said. It did not say how much it was looking to raise and if it was also considering bringing in an equity partner.

The sources declined to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media ahead of a public announcement. An Axiata spokeswoman declined to comment, while American Tower and Tata Teleservices did not immediately respond to requests for comment. (Reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee in MUMBAI and Devidutta Tripathy in NEW DELHI; additional reporting by Yantoultra Ngui in Kuala Lumpur; Editing by Mark Potter)

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