US groups planning to buy Hutch stake

US private-equity firms are considering a possible acquisition of the Indian wireless assets of Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Telecommunications International in a deal that could top $8 billion, not including assumed debt, a Xinhua News report said.

The Xinhua report, quoting The Wall Street Journal, said among the buyout firms considering an offer for Hutchison Essar are Blackstone Group and Texas Pacific Group.

Blackstone may join with Anil Ambani's Reliance Communications in launching its bid, the report quoted people familiar with the matter as saying.

Hutchison Telecommunications has a market value of about $11 billion and a recent Morgan Stanley report valued the company's Indian assets at about 75% to 80% of the company's value.

The size of the potential deal is the latest indication the buyout frenzy is spreading to Asia, said the report.

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