In a twist to the story of two rival billionaire brothers in India, a bankruptcy filing by Anil Ambani’s wireless service provider could have a clear winner: the disruptive mobile phone unit of his older brother.
The process initiated on Friday in Mumbai, once admitted by the court, would leave Ambani Reliance Communications Ltd., or RCom, 270 days to pay the debt or liquidate. The company voluntarily stepped in after a planned sale of towers, spectrum and fiber assets to Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., Mukesh Ambani’s older sister, stagnant. The agreement of Rs 173,000 million ($ 2,400 million) had caused objections and demands from creditors seeking payment before the sale.
Now, the elder Ambani could have even more influence in the bidding of the assets of a company whose disappearance helped to accelerate his way into the mobile phone market in 2016 with free services. Mukesh Ambani can only compete for the assets of the RCom wireless operator because a higher court in January relaxed the rules that prevented family members of controlling shareholders from bidding for insolvent companies.