Market Now: Bharti Airtel, Tata Tele drag BSE Telecom index down

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- An affiliate investor of the Qatar Foundation is selling a 5 percent stake in India's Bharti Airtel for about 95 billion rupees ($1.5 billion), according to a deal term sheet circulated on November 8 seen by Reuters Breakingviews. The block deal price is at 4.7-8% discount to Bharti Airtel stock's Tuesday close at Rs 514 on BSE.

Mumbai: Shares of Bharti Airtel Ltd on Wednesday slumped 6.7%, its biggest fall in almost eight months, after multiple block deals, according to a Bloomberg report. The Qatar Foundation, however, had picked up the stake at Rs 340 apiece in 2013.

An affiliate of the Qatar Foundation Endowment (QFE) sold about 199.9 million shares in the phone carrier at 481 rupees each via a block trade, it said in a statement.

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A decision to sell a $1.5 bln stake in Bharti Airtel may have been forced.

Major Gulf nations have cut diplomatic and transport relations with Qatar accusing it of backing terrorism. This is the second multi-billion dollar deal at the Bharti counter in less than a week.

Reports say, "It has also reduced its stake in upscale jeweler Tiffany & Co., Russian energy giant Rosneft and Swiss bank Credit Suisse".

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"We are delighted to have partnered with Bharti Airtel though an important stage of their growth".

UBS acted as sole bookrunner on this transaction.

Bharti Telecom Ltd, the holding company of Airtel, recently acquired as much as 4.62% in the telco. "We remain firm supporters of the Bharti Airtel business, the management team, and their strategy, and wish them well in the future", Rashid Al-Naimi added. The sale was subscribed about three times.

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The competition in the mobile services market has hit earnings and the financial metrics of large established telecom players and led to a massive consolidation in the industry, with smaller players exiting the market, and others going in for M&A deals to protect their market share.

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