Mukesh Ambani venturing into telecom?


Prime VIP
Within days of revoking a non-compete agreement that his group had with his younger brother Anil, RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani is believed to have held a long-drawn-out discussion with telecom czar Sunil Mittal.

The meeting took place on the day Mukesh Ambani arrived in Delhi on May 26 to attend the Prime Minister's Council on Trade and Industry meeting. A Reliance Industries spokesperson declined to comment either on the meeting or the discussions held, but a source said CII President Hari S Bhartia was also present.

The two Ambanis, on May 23, decided to scrap a non-compete agreement reached by them in January 2006. But, they decided that Mukesh will keep out of gas-based power plants till 2022. They had also announced that day that they would expeditiously negotiate a gas supply agreement in accordance with the Supreme Court order of May 7. There is speculation that Mukesh Ambani could venture into the telecom sector soon and sources indicated that he could pick up stake in one of the Indian telecom players, particularly those who acquired licences in 2008.

Sources also said that Mukesh is talking to new licence holders including Videocon, which has a pan-India licence and is looking for a partner to bring in capital to roll out services. Mukesh had overseen setting up of the telecom business in the undivided Reliance empire (under the brand Reliance Infocomm), but the business went to younger brother Anil Ambani when the brothers decided to part ways in June 2005. Anil has since renamed the telecom venture as Reliance Communications.