Vodafone finalizes deal with Essar

Vodafone and India's Essar group have agreed to jointly manage a leading Indian mobile phone company in which Vodafone is buying a controlling stake, a company official, quoted by an Associated Press report, said

The Associated Press report said Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin is expected to formally announce the deal in New Delhi on Thursday, said an official familiar with the development.

The official did not want to be named because of the deal's confidentiality ahead of the formal announcement, the report said.

Last month, Britain-based Vodafone won a bid to buy a controlling 67% stake in Hutchison Essar, a joint venture between Hong Kong-based Hutchison Telecommunications International and the Essar group, the Associated Press report said.

The report said the stake that Vodafone, the world's largest mobile phone company, is buying for $11.1 billion in cash comprises the 52% equity held by Hutchison Telecom and a combined 15% stake owned by two individual Indian investors.

The remaining 33% equity in the company is held by the Essar group, which has said it has no immediate plan to exit the business.

The deal with Essar is important for Vodafone to complete the acquisition because Indian laws do not allow more than 74% foreign equity in telecommunications, the report further said.