Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL) has called off talks for a possible alliance with three major portals, including Rediff.com and MSN.com, due to differences in terms and conditions.
Officials at VSNL declined to comment on the terms and conditions put forward by the portals and VSNL. The company has kept its options open on talks with other portals after the completion of its proposed disinvestment.
Earlier this year, VSNL had shortlisted three portals on the basis of preliminary discussions, but the negotiations did not meet with any success. The decision to forge an alliance with a leading portal came in the wake of the break-up of the alliance with Raj Koneru-promoted Indiainfo.com in September, 2000.
As part of beefing up its presence in the Internet business, VSNL was to pick up a 30 per cent stake in Indiainfo.com in a much-hyped deal. The plan was to use Indiainfo’s home page as its default page, but the alliance failed to take off following Indiainfo running into financial trouble.
This time around, VSNL was not interested in picking up the equity stake in its alliance partner, the talks were mainly centred on a revenue-sharing deal.
VSNL is spreading its wings in the ISP business to maintain its numero uno position. The company has already set aside around Rs 100 crores for its Internet rollout plan across the country. At present, it is the number one ISP with a subscriber-base close to seven lakhs.
Recently, the company has decided against hiving off its Internet business into a separate company following the Centre's decision to privatise it.