Russian conglomerate Sistema and Malaysia's Maxis Group have reportedly shelved talks for a possible buyout of Indian operator Aircel, after negotiations on price were inconclusive following the failed November spectrum auction.
Both Sistema and Aircel denied talks of a merger though, it stated. Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL), the joint venture between Sistema and India's Shyam Group, has also repeatedly maintained they have no plans of acquiring a telecom service provider, the report added.
The source said the term for which Maxis would stay invested in Aircel was a sticky subject in negotiations. Aircel was held under multiple companies of the Maxis Group, which underwent a nine-month restructuring process to simplify the holding pattern for interested suitors.
Sistema's Indian unit lost 21 of its 22 licenses when the Supreme Court revoked all existing 122 licenses of various telcos in February 2012, and is evaluating the possibilities of regaining its licenses at the upcoming spectrum auction this March, the report said.
Sistema welcomed the price reduction but expected a greater cut, the report said.
The Economic Times report also noted that prior to the reduced base price, it would have cost Sistema around INR 140 billion (US$2.6 billion) to reclaim its pan-India permits, making an acquisition of Aircel for around the same price value for money. But since CDMA spectrum prices are now cheaper, the proposed deal has lost some of its initial appeal, it added.