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Vodafone Wins Bid for Hutchison Essar

Britain's Vodafone Group, has agreed to buy Hutchison Essar, one of India's leading cell phone companies for $11.1billion, the company said Sunday.

Vodafone will buy a 67% controlling interest in the company in an attempt to boost growth with exposure to one of the world's fastest growing mobile markets. India is now adding 5 million new mobile phone connections every month, more than China.

Hutchison Telecommunications International, a holding company of Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa, agreed to sell its stake following a meeting Sunday to assess competing bids.

Essar Group, an Indian company with businesses ranging from shipping to energy, controls the remaining 33% stake in Hutchison Essar.

"This announcement is clear evidence of how we are executing our strategy of developing our presence in emerging markets," Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin said in a statement. "Hutch Essar is an impressive, well-run company that will fit well into the Vodafone Group."

Vodafone chairman John Bond said India was likely to become "one of the largest and most important mobile markets in the world."

"We also look forward to playing our part in delivering the significant economic and social benefits which mobile telephony can bring to the people of India," Bond said in a statement.

“Fundamentally we don’t see a change in strategy, so much as an accelerated and an enhanced execution,” Asim Ghosh, Managing Director at Hutchison Essar, said on “Worldwide Exchange.” This is not exactly a dog they’re buying. This has been a well run company, that’s reflected in the value, and we expect to benefit further from global synergies.”

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