Cairn India, Vedanta sweeten merger deal for shareholders


New Delhi: The board of Cairn India and Vedanta Ltd today sweetened their merger deal by revising terms of the merger of both companies, seeking to woo Cairn India shareholders – especially financial institutions. Under the new offer, Vedanta will give one share and four redeemable preference shares for each share in Cairn India, the company controlled by mining and metals tycoon Anil Agarwal said in a statement on Friday.

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Earlier it was offering one share and one redeemable preference share for each Cairn share. The deal, which will give debt-ridden Vedanta access to oil and gas explorer Cairn India's $3.5 billion cash pile, has faced opposition from some big minority shareholders.

Vedanta must get on board Life Insurance Corp (LIC) and UK-based Cairn Energy Plc, which own 10 percent each in Cairn India, to seal the takeover. LIC and Cairn Energy declined to immediately comment on the new offer on Friday.

Vedanta shareholders will vote on the new offer on Septeber 8, while Cairn India shareholders will vote on September 12. The new terms give a premium of 20 percent to the volume-weighted average price of Cairn India's stock price over the past month, Vedanta said.

One analyst said the new offer was in line with an increase in the shares of both companies since the deal was announced and with recent greater stability in global crude oil prices.

"The revised terms seem definitely more attractive and conducive than (the offer) in the past," said Jigar Shah, chief executive at Maybank Kimeng Securities India Pvt Ltd. Navin Agarwal, chairman of Cairn India, had said on Thursday he expected the deal to be completed by the end of the current fiscal year through March.

Ahead of the announcement, shares in Cairn India closed 8.7 per cent higher, their biggest single-day gain in seven years. Vedanta Ltd shares gained 7.4 per cent. London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc, parent of Vedanta Ltd, was trading up 5.3 per cent by 1404 GMT.