December 22, 2006

Vodafone eyes Hutchison India as Reliance circles

LONDON/MUMBAI (Reuters) - Mobile phone giant Vodafone Group is considering buying a controlling interest in India's Hutchison Essar, raising the prospect of a $13-billion-plus (6.6 billion pound-plus) bid battle with Reliance Communications for the operator.

Vodafone said on Friday the process was at an early stage, but its board believed the mobile market in India has great potential. A move for Hutchison Essar would be consistent with its strategy of seeking selective acquisitions in developing markets, it said.

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