Subsidiary Nettle Infrastructure buys 400 million shares for INR124 billion.

Bharti Airtel on Tuesday sold a 21.63% stake in its towers business to its wholly-owned subsidiary, Nettle Infrastructure Investments.

Bharti Infratel disclosed in a stock exchange filing that Nettle has acquired 400 million shares, paying "at or around the market price prevailing on the date of acquisition."

Infratel shares were trading at approximately 311 rupees (€4.39) each on Tuesday, which means Nettle paid around INR124 billion (€1.76 billion) for the stake.

The transaction reduces Bharti Airtel’s shareholding in Infratel to 50.33% from 71.96%.

The deal comes after the India-based telco revealed last week it had decided against offloading a controlling stake in the company.

In October, Bharti Airtel tasked a board committee with evaluating its options for the monetisation of what it called "a significant stake" in Infratel.

At a board meeting last Tuesday, the telco opted not to sell control of Infratel "for now", based on the committee’s recommendation.

Changes are also on the cards for another of India’s telecom towers providers, Indus Towers, a company in which Infratel holds a 42% stake.

As part of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular’s agreement to merge their mobile operations on Monday, the latter has decided to sell its 11.15% stake in Indus, while the former will explore its options for its 42% stake in the company, which include a full or partial sale.