Telenor in talks to merge India ops with Tata Tele - source

Last Updated: Tue, Nov 27, 2012 15:50 hrs

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Norway's Telenor is in talks to merge its Indian operations with Tata Teleservices to gain a bigger foothold in the world's second-biggest mobile phone market, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said on Tuesday.

Telenor, which won rights to operate in six Indian zones in an auction earlier this month after its earlier permits were ordered to be revoked, is looking to take a majority stake in the merged entity, the source said.

The deal will see India's Tata Group cutting its stake in unlisted Tata Telservices, the country's No. 6 mobile phone carrier, said the source, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Japan's NTT DoCoMo <9437.T>, which owns a 26 percent stake in the company, will retain its holding in the combined entity, the source said.

Telenor and Tata Teleservices declined comment. NTT DoCoMo could not be immediately reached for a comment in Tokyo outside their business hours.

(Reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee in MUMBAI and Devidutta Tripathy in NEW DELHI; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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