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Amazon in talks to pick up 5pc stake in Bharti Airtel, says report


Global online retailer Amazon is in early-stage talks with India’s leading mobile operator Bharti Airtel for a possible transaction, a report suggests.

According to a report by Reuters, Amazon is looking to acquire a minority stake in Bharti Airtel at a value of $2 billion.

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The possible transaction between the ecommerce company and the Indian mobile operator highlights the attractiveness of India’s digital economy.

The planned investment, if completed, would mean Amazon acquiring roughly fine percent stake based on the current market value of Airtel, which is India’s third-largest telecom company with more than 300 million subscribers.

The discussion between the two companies comes in the background of Reliance Industries receiving around $10 billion from various investors, including Facebook, for its telecom business – Reliance Jio.

Recently, Reliance has entered into the ecommerce segment and it launched its grocery delivery service where it has Facebook-owned WhatsApp as one of its partners.

According to Reuters, the talks between Airtel and Amazon are at an early stage, and the deal terms could change, or an agreement may not be reached.

These talks come amid reports that search giant Google is looking at picking up a minority stake in Kumar Mangalam Birla-owned Vodafone Idea.

Amazon counts India as a crucial growth market where it has committed $6.5 billion in investments mainly toward expanding its ecommerce footprint.

The Seattle-based company has, in recent years, also expanded its digital offerings in India via its voice-activated speakers, video streaming, and cloud storage platforms, as it seeks to tap a rising number of internet and smartphone users in the country of 1.3 billion people.

These talks reveal the closer integration between telecom operators and ecommerce companies with each benefitting from each other. Telecom operators are looking to expand their portfolio with the addition of newer services, while ecommerce companies want to reach out to more number of customers.

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