Bengaluru/Mumbai — India’s Bharti Infratel has agreed to merge with Indus Towers, in a deal that creates the world’s No 2 telecom tower company with an estimated equity value of $14.6bn. Seeking to capitalise on rapid growth in smartphone usage, the transaction, which values Indus Towers at $10bn, will create an infrastructure giant with more than 163,000 towers, lagging only China Tower. Top Indian telecoms carrier Bharti Airtel, the majority owner of Bharti Infratel, would be the biggest shareholder in the combined company followed by Vodafone Group, the companies said on Wednesday. Indus’s two other main shareholders, Idea Cellular and Providence Equity Partners, will have an option to cash out. Bharti Airtel said separately it would sound out potential investors with a view to selling stakes in the combined entity. The deal comes amid a vicious price war in the world’s second-biggest market by mobile phone users that has helped spur a rush of mergers and acquisitions activity, i...

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