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Vodafone takes control of Indian unit for £900m

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Company owns all of Vodafone India after deal to buy pharmaceuticals tycoon’s stake
Vodafonehas shrugged off political and tax uncertainties to buy out the last minority shareholder in its Indian mobile network for £900m.

The company said yesterday it had agreed to acquire the 11pc stake in Vodafone India from Ajay Piramal, one of the country’s richest men. The pharmaceuticals tycoon built his stake a little over two years ago and has made a 50pc return.

The deal means Vodafone now owns its Indian venture outright, in line with chief executive Vittorio Colao’s plan for the group to completely control all its networks worldwide.

The company’s decision to buy out minority shareholders in India was complicated by scrutiny of the deals from officials and politicians. In February, it nevertheless won approval to take full control, crucially ahead of India’s lengthy general election.

The deal secures Vodafone’s position in one of the world’s fastest-growing mobile markets. The Indian industry has been consolidating rapidly in the past few years and Vodafone India is among the major players.

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