Amazon in talks to invest $2 billion stake in Bharti Airtel

Amazon, the retail giant is being report to buy a sizeable stake in the Indian mobile operator, Bharti…

Amazon, the retail giant is being report to buy a sizeable stake in the Indian mobile operator, Bharti Airtel.

According to Reuters, three people with knowledge of the discussions told the publication that they are in early-stage talks to buy a stake worth at least $2 billion.

If this deal is completed, it would mean that Amazon will acquire roughly 5% of the current market value of Bharti Airtel. This will make it compete with the largest player in India, Reliance Jio.

The discussions between Amazon and Bharti come at a time when global players are placing major bets on the digital arm of Reliance Industries, which owns Bharti’s telecom rival Jio.

Reliance’s digital unit has raised $10 billion in recent weeks from Facebook, KKR and others.

The talks between Bharti and Amazon are at an early stage and the deal terms could change, or an agreement may not be reached, say two of the three sources, all of whom declined to be identified because the discussions are confidential.

An Amazon spokeswoman said the company does “not offer comments on speculation of what we may or may not do in future.”

Bharti said they routinely work with all digital players to bring their products, content and services to customers. “Beyond that there is no other activity to report,” it said in a statement.

Amazon counts India as a crucial growth market where it has committed $6.5 billion in investments mainly toward expanding its e-commerce 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, as it seeks to tap a rising number of internet and smartphone users in the country of 1.3 billion people.

A deal between Amazon and Bharti would help the former expand its empire by boosting its cloud business, get access to Bharti’s fiber network to lower costs.

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