The Company Law Board (CLB) on Friday stayed the auction of Uninor started by the telecom firm’s majority owner, Telenor of Norway, saying that the process being followed was “very clever.”

Hearing an application filed by Unitech, which holds a minority 32.75 per cent stake in Uninor, CLB Chairman Justice D.R. Deshmukh stayed the August 1 auction notice issued by Uninor and said that the Board would hear both the parties in length.

CLB observed the manner in which the auction process was being carried out was “very clever”, before directing Uninor and other respondents to file their reply by Monday.

It listed the matter for next hearing on August 8.

In the August 1 notice, Uninor set a minimum bid price of Rs 4,000 crore and sought bids by August 6. In case no bidder turns up, Telenor would pay Rs 4,190 crore for the company, the notice stated.

CLB said the terms and conditions set out in the auction notice appeared to be “tough.”

Telenor holds 67.25 per cent stake in Unitech Wireless, that operates under the Uninor brand. Unitech which is opposed to the auction, had on Thursday approached the CLB seeking a stay on Uninor’s plan to sell the business through auction in which Telenor may possibly be the only bidder.

Telenor wants to scrap the joint venture with Unitech and migrate its business to a new company to seek fresh operating licences as the JV’s 22 telecom permits were among the 122 quashed by the Supreme Court in February.

Uninor had said it wanted to auction the company’s business, including its assets, while it is a going concern before the September 7 deadline set by the apex court for winding up of operations of all the firms whose licences had been cancelled.

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