Global retail and e-commerce giant Amazon is reportedly in talks to buy a $2 billion stake in Indian private telecom operator Bharti Airtel. As per a Reuters report, the talks are still in early stages with Amazon looking to acquire a 5% stake. The 5% is based on Airtel’s current market value, the report stated.
Bharti Airtel, which has over 30 crore subscribers in India, is the third-largest telecom player in the country, behind Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio.
With the talks being in initial stages, Reuters reports that the deal terms could change, and this doesn’t guarantee that an agreement will be reached and a deal finalised.
While Amazon declined to comment saying it doesn’t comment on speculative information, Airtel told Reuters in a statement that it “routinely works with all digital players to bring their products, content and services to customers. Beyond that there is no other activity to report.”
The talks between Amazon and Airtel come at a time when reports suggested that Google was exploring a 5% stake in Vodafone Idea and when Reliance’s digital unit Jio Platforms has raised over Rs 78,562 crore from five different global investors.
Vodafone Idea, however, denied reports that there was a proposal from Google.
“Currently, there is no proposal as reported by the media that is being considered at the Board. We wish to reiterate and clarify the Company will comply with SEBI Listing Regulations and duly keep the stock exchanges informed of all the price sensitive information,” it said in a regulatory filing on May 29.
Jio Platforms, on the other hand, continues to field offers, with reports suggesting that Jio could also be in talks with Microsoft for a 2% stake. It was also reported that three leading West Asian sovereign wealth funds: Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Saudi Arabia’s The Public Investment Fund are also in talks for an investment in Jio Platforms.
The massive investor interest in Jio Platforms, and now the discussions between tech giants and telecom operators shows the potential of India’s digital economy in the coming years.