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Slaughters dials in on latest Vodafone deal as telco moves to create India’s largest communications operator

Slaughter and May, Allen & Overy (A&O), S&R Associates, Vaish Associates Advocates and Bharucha & Partners all gained mandates as the Vodafone Group is to acquire rival Idea Cellular in a bid to create India’s largest communications business by revenue.

Slaughters and S&R Associates represented Vodafone and Vodafone India. It is understood head of M&A Roland Turnill (pictured), who is the firm’s relationship partner for Vodafone, was lead partner for the Magic Circle firm.

A&O, Vaish and Bharucha advised Idea Cellular.  The A&O team was led by London finance partner Sanjeev Dhuna and corporate partner Tom Levine.

The combined entity, which Vodafone UK will own 45% of, will have almost 400 million customers, around 35% of Indian market share, and an implied enterprise value of $12.4bn for Vodafone India and $10.8bn for Idea.

The consolidation comes as India’s mobile industry is going through rapid changes. The launch of Reliance Jio Infocomm last year, a new 4G mobile network which introduced free voice calls and price cuts, rattled India’s three biggest mobile operators, including Vodafone and Idea.

The deal is the latest in Slaughters’ long-term relationship with Vodafone, having advised the mobile operator in 2013 on its merger with Verizon Communications, as well as its Netherlands joint venture with Liberty Global in February last year.

Last week (13 March), it was announced Slaughters and Linklaters gained advisory roles as energy services group Amec Foster Wheeler agreed to a £2.2bn takeover by Wood Group, bringing together two of the UK’s largest energy services companies.

Slaughters also advised on Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management’s £3.8bn merger earlier this month.

Read more: ‘The M&A Report: To have and have not’