Idea Cellular, Vodafone complete merger
MUMBAI: Idea Cellular Ltd and Vodafone Plc completed the merger of their India operations on Friday, creating the country’s largest telecom operator by subscribers and revenue after the entry of a new player sparked a bitter price war.
The merged entity would be a formidable rival to billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm, which has caused a widespread disruption in the domestic telecom industry.
Stiff competition triggered consolidation in world’s No.2 mobile phone market, with Vodafone and Idea agreeing to merge their operations in India in a $23 billion deal last February.
The combined entity will have a revenue share of 32.2 per cent in the market and a total customer base of around 400 million, racing ahead of Bharti Airtel, Idea said on Friday.
The entity’s board will have 12 directors, with Kumar Mangalam Birla as chairman and Balesh Sharma as chief executive officer.
Himanshu Kapania has stepped down as managing director of Idea Cellular, but will continue as a non-executive director on the merged entity’s board.—Reuters
Coca-Cola’s $5.1bn Costa deal
NEW YORK: Coca-Cola Co has agreed to buy coffee chain Costa for $5.1 billion to extend its push into healthier drinks and take on the likes of Starbucks and Nestle in the booming global coffee market.
The purchase from Britain’s Whitbread of Costa’s almost 4,000 outlets thrusts the world’s biggest soda company into one of the few bright spots in the sluggish packaged food and drinks sector.
Paying about 1bn pounds ($1.3bn) more than some analysts had expected, Coke will use its distribution network to supercharge Costa’s expansion as it chases current coffee chain market leader Starbucks and its almost 29,000 stores across 77 markets.
Beyond coffee shops, Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey, himself a Briton familiar with the UK brand, said Costa would provide an important growth platform ranging from beans to bottled drinks in what is one of the world’s fastest-growing drink categories, growing around 6 percent a year. Coke sells Georgia coffee in Japan, but wanted a bigger platform.
“Coca-Cola doesn’t have a broad, global portfolio in this growing category,” Quincey said in a blog post https://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/james-quincey-on-costa, highlighting Costa’s retail footprint, roastery, supply chain and Costa Express vending system, which the company plans to expand.
Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2018