BEIJING Dec 14 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
(Reporting by Doug Young; Additional reporting by Michael
Flaherty in HONG KONG and Janaki Krishnan and Narayanan
Somasundaram in MUMBAI; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)