Amazon considers $2bn stake in Bharti Airtel

Published: 4 June 2020 - 11:24 a.m.

US web giant, Amazon, is considering acquiring a stake in Indian telco, Bharti Airtel.

A report by news agency Reuters claimed that three sources familiar with the matter have confirmed that Amazon would look to acquire around 5 per cent of Bharti Airtel.

Amazon has become the latest US web firm to inquire over the possibility of investing in India’s telcos, with Facebook taking a $5.7 billion stake in Reliance Jio and Google inquiring about the possibility of taking a multi billion dollar stake in Vodafone Idea.

Sources told Reuters that the discussions were at an early stage and that the terms of any proposed deal could change before going public.

With over 1.2 billion mobile subscribers, India is the world’s second largest marketplace, behind China. As such it represents a huge opportunity for investors – particularly those looking to launch pay per use services across their existing mobile apps.

Despite the size of the market, Indian telcos are trading on ultra fine margins and struggling under the combined weight of super competitive market conditions and spiralling governmental and regulatory charges. In these conditions, operators are looking to cultivate outside investment to help them meet the brutal capital expenditure demands of 5G, which they will be obliged to meet over the next 18 months.

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