Bharti Airtel has announced its acquisition of Loop Mobile, currently owned by the Khatan family, for an undisclosed sum. However, industry estimates peg the deal at around Rs.700 crore, including Rs.400 crore of debt which Loop had on its books. Under the agreement, Loop’s 30 lakh subscribers in Mumbai will join Airtel’s over 40 lakh subscriber base. The deal also includes Loop’s 2G network supported by 2,500 plus cell sites.
The two companies will start integrating their businesses once the relevant agreements are signed and approved. Loop, formerly BPL Mobile, operates only in Mumbai and is one of the oldest telecom firms. Its purchase would enable Bharti to surpass the current Mumbai market leader Vodafone in customer numbers. Loop, whose licence expires in September, did not participate in the recent telecom auction, making it impossible for it to continue operations.