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Vodafone attempts to jump Essar hurdles

British mobile group, Vodafone, is looking to vault over hurdles to block its purchase of the Indian telecoms firm, Hutchison Essar, by snapping up a stake in the company’s parent.

Hutchison Essar is majority owned by Hutchison Whampoa via emerging markets spin off Hutchison Telecommunications International (HTIL) and, according to a report in Tuesday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal, Vodafone and rival bidder, Reliance Communications, are looking at buying Hutchison Whampoa’s stake in HTIL, which owns 67 percent of Hutchison Essar.

The battle for control of India’s fourth largest carrier has intensified since Vodafone’s intentions were made public. Last week Telecoms.com reported that two of India’s wealthiest brothers threatened to block Vodafone’s plans to buy Hutchison Essar. Ravi and Sashi Ruia told the British firm they would use their special ‘operating rights’ to hamper Vodafone’s ability to develop Essar’s business if it wins the $20bn auction for the firm.

Vodafone is widely expected to make an offer of around $17bn for Hutchison Essar.

Vodafone refused to comment.

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