Amazon is in early-stage discussions with mobile operator Bharti Airtel to buy a $2 billion (approximately Rs 15,109 crores) stake, three sources of knowledge told the Reuters company, emphasizing India ‘s digital economy ‘s growing attraction for the US technology giant.
If the investment is completed, Amazon would acquire about 5% of the company, based on Bharti, the third-largest India telecoms companies with over 300 million subscribers. This is based on Bharti ‘s existing market value.
The Amazon-Bharti Airtel discussions occur at a time when global players place a large bet on Bharti ‘s rival telecoms company Jio, the digital arm of Reliance Industries.
The digital unit of Reliance has raised ten billion dollars from Facebook, KKR, and others (roughly 75,550 crores) over the last few weeks.
Two of the three sources, all of whom refused to be identified because of confidential discussions, stated that the discussions between Bharti and Amazon had been earlier and the agreement could be changed and no agreement could be reached.
Amazon’s spokesperson said the company “do not comment with regard to speculating what we can and can not do in the future.” Bharti said it is working routinely on bringing its products, content, and services to its customers with every digital player. It said in a statement, “Apart from that there is no other activity to report.”
In addition to Amazon, India has invested $6.5 billion (roughly Rs. 49,100 crores), mainly to expand its e-commerce footprint. Indian investment is the key market for growth.
In recent years, the Seattle company has also expansioned its digital offers in India through its voice, video streaming and cloud storage services in the country with a growing number of Internet and smartphone users.