Belgium’s Proximus to buy 58% stake in India’s Route Mobile for $721 million (July 17)

(This July 17 story has been refiled to clarify the details about Route Mobile CEO’s additional role in paragraph 6)

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Belgium’s Proximus Opal, which provides cloud-based telecom platforms for enterprises, said on Monday it would buy a near-58% stake in Route Mobile for about 59.22 billion rupees ($721 million), at par with its Indian peer’s current market value.

Proximus Opal, a unit of Belgian telecom service provider Proximus Group, has clients such as Salesforce and Bytedance, while Route Mobile’s clients include Amazon and Indian telecom service provider Airtel.

Proximus Opal will pay 1,626.40 rupees per Route Mobile share, just 0.06% more than the closing price on Friday, for the 57.56% stake held by Route Mobile’s promoters, an Indian market term for large shareholders who can influence company policy.

However, Clear Bridge Ventures, an affiliate of some Route Mobile promoters, will buy a minority stake of up to 14.5% in Proximus Opal for about 299.6 million euros (nearly $337 million).

Proximus Opal will also have to make an offer to buy an additional stake of up to 26% in Route Mobile at the same price from retail shareholders, according to Indian regulations.

“The partnership … paves the way for Route Mobile to achieve a billion-dollar annual revenue run-rate much sooner than the anticipated 3-4 year time frame,” said Route Mobile CEO Rajdip Gupta, who will also lead the group’s cloud-based platform, CPaaS.

Route Mobile’s revenue surged 78% to 35.69 billion rupees ($434.5 million) in the year ended March 31, while its profit nearly doubled to 3.27 billion rupees.

The company’s shares were down nearly 4% at 1,562.60 rupees in afternoon trading in India, having reversed course after initially jumping 8.3% to a 17-month high. The stock has surged about 150% since its market debut in September 2020.

Morgan Stanley was Proximus’s financial adviser. ($1 = 82.1570 Indian rupees) ($1 = 0.8910 euros)

(Reporting by Rama Venkat and Sethuraman NR in Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Janane Venkatraman)