Greetings from Washington, D.C., where I'm in town for some meetings and to remind colleagues of what I look like. Remember that you can provide feedback or scoop by responding directly to these morning missives, by using our anonymous tipbox or services like Confide and Signal (857-472-3072). Here we go...
Vodafone India has agreed to merge with fellow Indian mobile carrier Idea Cellular in a $23 billion transaction. Vodafone would hold a 45.1% stake in the combined company, while Idea's majority shareholder (Aditya Birla Group) would own a 26% stake. The remaining 28.9% position would he held by other Idea Cellular shareholders.
Why it's the BFD: This merger would create the largest telecom company (nearly 400 million customers) in the world's second largest mobile phone market (behind China). It also comes amid major turmoil in the Indian mobile market. Current leader Bharti Airtel last week canceled plans to sell a control stake in its mobile tower unit, largely because of a stock price plunge related to the Vodafone India/Idea Cellular merger talks. And all three companies have been under severe price pressure after India's richest man spent around $20 billion to build out a network that has been offering its consumer services for free.
Bottom line: "Since the merged entity will have more resources, the telecom price war is going to get messier. Idea-Vodafone merger may lead to more consolidation. Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices and Aircel are already in talks for merger. Airtel has bought India operations of Telenor. Reliance is surely going to face stiff fight from the new biggies. The consumer will be the king." Economic Times
Aquiline Capital Partners has sold BI-SAM Technologies, a French provider of provider of portfolio performance and attribution software, to FactSet (NYSE: FDS) for $205.2 million.
• PBM Capital Group has sold a majority stake in Breas Medical Group, a Charlottesville, Va.-based maker of homecare ventilation and sleep apnea devices, to Fosun Pharma. No financial terms were disclosed. www.breas.com
• Renovo Capital has sold Andronico's, a specialty grocer in the Bay Area, to Safeway (NYSE: SWY) for an undisclosed amount. http://bayareane.ws/2nB0ReT
• Aflac Corp. (NYSE: AFLC) has launched a corporate VC arm to invest in early-stage companies relevant to the insurer's core business. It will be led by existing Aflac exec Nadeem Khan, who has served as SVP of corporate development.
• Source Code Capital, a Sequoia Capital affiliate in China, is raising upwards of $260 million for its third VC fund, per an SEC filing. www.sourcecodecap.com