SBI approaches Supreme Court to challenge Anil Ambani’s Rcom asset sale halt

Anil Ambani, Reliance Communications chairman.

State Bank of India, the country’s largest lender, has approached the apex court to challenge decisions that halted the sale of assets by Anil Ambani’s indebted telecom unit, which is seeking to pare a $7 billion debt pile.

The state-run bank is seeking to revoke a high court order as well as one from a bankruptcy tribunal in a separate case that prevents Reliance Communications Ltd. from selling its airwaves, fiber and tower assets, according to court documents and people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named as they aren’t authorized to speak publicly. State Bank of India plans to argue that the deal has the approval of the company’s creditors, the people said.

The push comes as the loss-making, indebted carrier races to meet a March-end deadline to finalize the sale of its key wireless assets to Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., the company controlled by Anil’s brother Mukesh Ambani. The process may be delayed as the Indian unit of Ericsson AB challenges the deal over unpaid dues, while offshore investors led by HSBC Daisy Investments (Mauritius) Ltd. fight to prevent the sale of tower assets held by a unit of RCom.

The State Bank of India case will be heard on March 22 along with a separate challenge filed by RCom.

RCom had announced the sale of some assets to Reliance Jio on Dec. 28. The deal was estimated at the time to have a fair value of between 240 billion and 290 billion rupees by Jefferies Group LLC analysts. Proceeds from the sale will be used to repay lenders and stave off insolvency.