Last year, Vodafone and Idea, which are now India's No 2 and 3 telcos, had agreed to merge their operations to create the country's largest telecom operator worth more than $23 billion, with 35 per cent market share and 387 million users.
The deal is understood to be the largest merger in Indian corporate history, and the resulting company will have the biggest market share in the Indian mobile industry. Currently, Bharti Airtel tops the list.
The NCLT, vide its order dated January 11, has sanctioned the scheme of amalgamation and arrangement among Vodafone Mobile Services, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, Idea said in a regulatory filing. Idea Cellular, which is controlled by the Aditya Birla industrial and commercial group, announced last week that it plans to raise the equivalent of $1.1 billion in equity in preparation for the merger with Vodafone.
The two companies have already jumped all the other hurdles to reach a merger.
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) gave its conditional approval to the merger previous year, subject to approval from shareholders and NCLT, which have now been received.
The proposed merger of Vodafone India and Idea will create an entity with a revenue of around Rs 77,500-80,000 crore besides eliminating duplication of spectrum and infrastructure capex, as per India Ratings and Research.
The merger deal is expected to be completed by the middle of 2018.