France Telecom and Telstra are reportedly in talks with Malaysian operator Maxis to buy a 20-25% stake in Indian subsidiary Aircel.
Aircel is worth somewhere between $7 billion and $8 billion, and France Telecom will likely pay between $1.4-2 billion for its share, the Economic Times said
Aircel is in the middle of a $5 billion expansion that will see it operate nation-wide by mid-2010. The operator has a subscriber base of around 19.6 million.
Negotiations are still in an early stage, the sources said, and may still fall through because Maxis wants to sell part of its 74% stake in Aircel directly to the investors - a proposal that has met with opposition from France Telecom.
Saudi Telecom is meanwhile in negotiations to raise its stake in Maxis to 35% from 25% for around $1 billion, the Times said. The deal is expected to close within a month.
Neither Aircel nor France Telecom would confirm the discussions on-the-record.