Vedanta sweetens Cairn India deal terms after takeover delayed

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's Vedanta Ltd VDAN.NS has offered to sweeten the terms for taking over subsidiary Cairn India Ltd CAIL.NS after an initial bid had been stymied for a year.

A bird flies by the Vedanta office building in Mumbai August 16, 2010. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Under the new offer, Vedanta will give one share and four redeemable preference shares for each share in Cairn India, the company controlled by mining and metals tycoon Anil Agarwal said in a statement on Friday.

Earlier it was offering one share and one redeemable preference share for each Cairn share.

The deal, which will give debt-ridden Vedanta access to oil and gas explorer Cairn India's $3.5 billion cash pile, has faced opposition from some big minority shareholders. Vedanta must get on board Indian state-run Life Insurance Corp (LIC) and UK-based Cairn Energy Plc CNE.L, which own 10 percent each in Cairn India, to seal the takeover.

LIC and Cairn Energy declined to immediately comment on the new offer on Friday.

Vedanta shareholders will vote on the new offer on Sept. 8, while Cairn India shareholders will vote on Sept. 12.

The new terms give a premium of 20 percent to the volume-weighted average price of Cairn India’s stock price over the past month, Vedanta said.

One analyst said the new offer was in line with an increase in the shares of both companies since the deal was announced and with recent greater stability in global crude oil prices.

“The revised terms seem definitely more attractive and conducive than (the offer) in the past,” said Jigar Shah, chief executive at Maybank Kimeng Securities India Pvt Ltd.

Navin Agarwal, chairman of Cairn India, had said on Thursday he expected the deal to be completed by the end of the current fiscal year through March.

Ahead of the announcement, shares in Cairn India closed 8.7 percent higher, their biggest single-day gain in seven years. Vedanta Ltd shares gained 7.4 percent.

London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc VED.L, parent of Vedanta Ltd, was trading up 5.3 percent by 1404 GMT.

Editing by Devidutta Tripathy and David Holmes