Carlyle, Blackstone in Talks to Buy Stake in Indian Tower Company

Private equity companies The Carlyle Group and Blackstone (NYSE:BX) are in separate talks to buy a large stake in the tower unit of India’s second-largest telecom operator, Reliance Communications, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The deal could be reached sometime in February or March, subject to agreements on its valuations, according to the report citing people close to the matter.

The unit, called Reliance Infratel, is owned 95% by Reliance Communications and the rest by the Galleon Group, George Soros’s Quantum, Drawbridge Towers and HSBC Iris Investments.

While Blackstone and Carlyle have not offered any information as to whether they are seeking a deal, Reliance Communications in a statement said the transaction is progressing well, though it did not name bidders.

People close to the matter said Reliance and the private-equity firms have not yet agreed on the valuation of the tower unit as well as lease agreements that Reliance Infratel has with other telecom operators.

A sale of the unit would help Reliance Communications reduce about $6 billion of debt, the Journal said, which has been weighing down its earnings since it took out a loan from the government to expand its services.