New Delhi: The Company Law Board today stayed Telenor-controlled telecom firm Uninor’s planned auction of its assets observing that the process followed appeared “very clever”.
Passing an interim order on company’s minority partner Unitech’s application, CLB Chairman Justice DR Deshmukh stayed the 1 August auction notice issued by Uninor observing that the proposed auction process appeared to be “very clever”.
It said that the Board would hear both the parties in length and directed Uninor and Telenor to file their reply by Monday. He listed the matter for hearing on 8 August.
Unitech, which holds 32.75 percent stake in Unitech Wireless that operates under the Uninor brand, had sought stopping of the sale fearing Telenor may be the only bidder in the auction.
Reacting to CLB order, Uninor said, “It is unfortunate that the stay has been granted.”
“Uninor will pursue every legal measure available to it in the Indian courts to secure the interest of the company’s creditors, customers and employees,” it said in a statement.
The firm had on 1 August invited potential bidders to express interest by 6 August and said its majority owner, Norway’s Telenor, was willing to pay Rs 4,190 crore for its 30 million customers and assets in case no other bidder turns up.
During the proceedings at CLB today, Telenor counsels contended that the decision to auction was taken in the interest of the company and its creditors who have invested more than Rs 5,000 crore in the business.
But Unitech lawyers raised questions on validity of Uninor’s 31 July board meeting that decided on the auction saying the entire process was drafted just to handover the entire telecom business to Telenor.