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Tycoon Shuns Investment Banks in $23 Billion Vodafone Deal

  • Billionaire Birla taps in-house dealmakers for negotiations
  • Transaction will create India’s biggest wireless carrier
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Vodafone, Idea Agree on Merger to Create Mobile Leader

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Indian billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla just pulled off the biggest deal of his career. There won’t be any investment banks sharing in the glory.

The tycoon’s mobile arm, Idea Cellular Ltd., said Monday it will merge with Vodafone Group Plc’s Indian operations to create the largest Indian wireless carrier with a $23 billion enterprise value. Birla, who will be chairman of the combined business, personally led talks with Vodafone Chief Executive Officer Vittorio Colao, people with knowledge of the matter said.