January 7, 2015
On 3rd January 2015, NTT Docomo Inc., a subsidiary of Japan’s Nippon Telegraph and Telephone corp., had filed a request for arbitration in a London Court to ensure Tata Sons Ltd finds a buyer for the Japanese carrier’s stake in Tata Teleservices Ltd for $1 billion, after Tata failed to do so by an agreed date.
In its filing to Tokyo Stock Exchange on Monday, NTT Docomo said it has submitted a request for arbitration with Tata Sons, “pursuant to the shareholders agreement regarding the exercise of Docomo’s option to sell its stake in Tata Teleservices, a telecommunication service provider in India.”
NTT Docomo paid 266.7 billion Yen ($2.2 billion) for 26.5% stake in Tata Tele Services Lmtd. (TTSL) in July 2009. Under the purchase agreement, holding company, Tata Sons would sell the stake of NTT Docomo for half the purchase price or a fair market price, whichever is higher, in case TTSL misses the undisclosed targets. NTT Docomo requested a sale in July which gave Tata Sons 90 business days to find a buyer. Due to its failure to do so, NTT Docomo decided to file for an arbitration to ensure that the stake is sold. In the worst case scenario, Tata sons is unable to find a suitable buyer, foreclosure becomes a possibility.
Japan’s largest communications services provider entered India in March 2009 by acquiring the stake in Tata Teleservices for $2.7 billion after the Indian telco got a dual-technology licence that allowed CDMA-based operators to offer rival GSM-based services as well.
NTT Docomo had an option to raise its stake to 33% from its current 26.5% in TTSL after 3 years and upto 49% after 31st March 2014 (5 years).
In a statement on Monday, Tata Sons said that while it may not be possible to predict how events will unfold, Tata Sons is cognizant of its responsibilities and is committed to finding a solution to the problem, keeping in view the interests of all the stakeholders, and in accordance with the law.