Google will be investing upto $1 billion in Bharti Airtel, the company announced on Friday, January 28. This deal includes an investment worth $700 million, through which Google will acquire 1.28% ownership in Airtel at a price per share of Rs 734, and $300 million which will be used to scale up Airtel’s operations in India. This investment is part of Google’s $10 billion India Digitization Fund which was announced by Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet Inc (the parent company of Google), in 2020.
Airtel will issue 7.1 crore equity shares to Google on a preferential basis at Rs 734 per share. This will be worth Rs 5,224.4 crore on a preferential basis and will be issued for a 1.28% stake.
In a release, Bharti Airtel said that the partnership will focus on enabling affordable access to smartphones across price ranges and continue working to potentially co-create India-specific network domain use cases for 5G, and help accelerate the cloud ecosystem for businesses across India.
Announcing the investment, Sunil Bharti Mittal, the Chairman of Bharti Airtel said, “With our future ready network, digital platforms, last mile distribution and payments ecosystem, we look forward to working closely with Google to increase the depth and breadth of India’s digital ecosystem.”
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, said, “Our commercial and equity investment in Airtel is a continuation of our Google for India Digitization Fund's efforts to increase access to smartphones, enhance connectivity to support new business models, and help companies on their digital transformation journey.”
Airtel serves over one million small and medium businesses with its enterprise connectivity offering, and this partnership will help accelerate digital adoption, the company said.
Airtel is the second telecom company in India that Google has invested in. In 2020, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani had announced that Google picked a 7.7% stake in Jio Platforms for Rs 33,737 crore.