Reliance Comm-MTN merger talks could be in trouble

Reliance Communications’ (RCom) merger talks with South African major MTN could be in trouble reports the Businessline. The rivalry between the two Ambani brothers have come to the fore yet again, with Mr Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd claiming first right to the younger Ambani’s stake in Reliance Communications in the event of an equity swap with MTN.

Reacting to RIL’s claims, Reliance Communications in a statement said, “Last night, in a mala fide effort to disrupt the talks, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), part of the Mukesh Ambani group, has sent a communication to MTN Group, making a false claim of an alleged right of first refusal to buy the controlling stake in Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom). RIL’s claim is legally and factually untenable, baseless, and misconceived.”According to sources close to the Ambani family, the two sides had agreed that the other brother would have the first right of refusal in case of a large stake sale in any of the businesses owned by either of the brothers.

Dismissing RIL’s claims, the Anil Ambani camp said, “RIL has based its claim on an agreement of January 12, 2006, which was unilaterally signed only by RIL’s officials, when RCom was under RIL’s control, under a procedure which the Bombay High Court, vide its judgement dated October 15, 2006, has held to be “unfair and unjust”. RIL’s claim is born out of mounting despair and frustration at Reliance ADA Group’s continuing successes, and the support it enjoys from over 10 million investors, the world’s largest shareholding family.”

“Reliance Communications dismisses RIL’s claim with the contempt it deserves,” the statement said. With RCom saying that talks with MTN were progressing well, this could snowball into yet another court room battle between the two feuding brothers.

Reliance move to scuttle RCOM- MTN should be condemned. It is a Great injustice to the shareholders of RCOM>

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