A high court in Bangladesh has finally approved the much-discussed merger proposal of Robi Axiata and Airtel Bangladesh which would lead to the formation of country’s second-largest mobile operator, a media report said. The merged entity will have to pay Tk 100 crore as merger fees, said Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission’s lawyer Khandaker Reza-E-Raquib. Apart from the merger fees, the merged entity will have to pay Tk 33.8 crore for each Megahertz of Airtel’s 2G spectrums to be used by Robi for the next four years. Also Read - Airtel Rs 79 plan vs JioPhone Rs 75 prepaid plan compared: Which offers better value?
Robi’s lawyer had urged for installment facilities for this payment during the hearing, but court forwarded the issue to BTRC, said Raquib. The court also directed the concerned authorities to ensure voluntary retirement scheme for the employees who are not willing to work for Robi, the report said. Robi and Airtel opened talks on a possible merger in August 2015, and on January 28 this year the operators’ parent companies signed a deal to that effect. If merged, the entity will be the second largest operator in Bangladesh after Grameenphone in terms of subscribers. In the merged entity, Axiata, the parent company of Robi, will hold a 68.7 percent controlling stake, while Bharti Airtel will hold 25 percent and NTT DOCOMO of Japan 6.3 percent. Also Read - Airtel introduces new Rs 79 prepaid plan in place of Rs 49 pack: Here are the benefits
Currently, Malaysia-based Axiata has 91.59 percent stakes in Robi and Japan’s DOCOMO 8.41 percent, meaning both their shares in the Bangladeshi operation will be diluted after the merger. On July 31, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved the merger proposals.