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Piramal Health buys stake in Vodafone Essar

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Piramal Healthcare, run by billionaire Ajay Piramal, has picked up a 5.5 percent equity stake in Vodafone Essar, the Indian operations of the world’s largest mobile operator Vodafone Plc, according to a late evening, joint announcement on Wednesday by both companies. Piramal will pay $640 million (nearly Rs2, 900 crore) for the stake, valuing the telco’s Indian operations at $11.6 billion (Rs52, 500 crore). That’s one-third the market capitalisation of Bharti Airtel, India’s biggest mobile phone operator, at Rs154, 540 crore. According to a statement issued by the companies, Piramal could exit at the time of an initial public offering by Vodafone. It also mentioned an option to sell the stake back to Vodafone, meaning the exercise is some kind of facilitation or warehousing. Considering that Piramal is a hardnosed bargainer

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