Vodafone picking banks for $3 billion IPO of India unit

Vodafone Group Plc has chosen banks to arrange a listing of its India business, which could raise as much as $3 billion and become the nation’s largest initial public offering, people with knowledge of the matter said. The Newbury, England-based company picked Bank of America Corp., Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. and UBS Group AG to lead the offering, which could take place in the next year, according to the people. Axis Bank Ltd., Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Holdings Plc, ICICI Securities Ltd. and JM Financial Ltd. were also selected to work on the share sale, the people said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are confidential. The offering would give Vodafone funds to expand as rising wages help growth in India outpace more mature markets like the U.K. If Vodafone India raises the local-currency equivalent of $3 billion, the sale could surpass the 2008 listing of Coal India Ltd. as the nation’s biggest IPO, data compiled by Bloomberg show. “We have previously said that we have started preparations for a potential IPO, which includes private conversations with banks, but this is a lengthy process and no decision will be made until we are at the end of it,” Vodafone said in an e-mailed statement, declining to comment further. Vodafone may wait to see the results of an upcoming spectrum auction by the Indian government, as well as assess the impact from billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s upstart wireless operator Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., before starting the offering, people with knowledge of the matter said in October. Vodafone India is the country’s second-largest wireless carrier after billionaire Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Airtel Ltd. (By George Smith Alexander and Ruth David/Bloomberg with assistance from Anto Antony, Amy Thomson and Natasha Doff.)

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