Amazon Investments

Amazon Eyes Deal For $2B Stake In Indian Telecom Bharti Airtel

Amazon Eyes Deal For Stake In Rising Indian Mobile Operator

Amazon may become the latest American tech giant to buy its way into India’s fast-growing telecom market as it eyes a deal that could upend the nation’s mobile market.

The eCommerce company is in the early stages of exploring a deal to take a $2 billion stake in Bharti Airtel, India’s third-largest telecom operator, Reuters reported, citing three sources with knowledge of the talks.

The potential move by Amazon would give the tech behemoth a 5 percent stake in Bharti, while also reshuffling India’s mobile market by providing an infusion of cash to the up-and-coming telecom as it challenges the market’s dominant player, Reliance Jio.

The move comes on the heels of big investments by a pair of U.S.-based tech companies in Reliance Jo, Bharti’s corporate rival.

Facebook snapped up a nearly 10 percent share in Reliance Jio in April, while reports in the Indian media indicate that Microsoft is exploring its own deal to invest up to $2 billion in India’s top telecom company.

Meanwhile, Google is exploring its own Indian telecom play. The tech giant has been eyeing a deal to buy a 5 percent stake in Vodafone, the country’s second-largest telecom, the Financial Times has reported. And Google has also discussed a potential deal with Reliance Jio.

Amazon’s interest in Indian mobile operator Bharti is no flash in the pan, but rather part of a now years-long campaign by billionaire Jeff Bezos’ global tech and online retail empire to tap into India’s rapidly expanding economy. Amazon has already laid out $6.5 billion in various investments since entering the Indian market seven years ago.

At a news conference in New Delhi in January, Bezos and Amit Agarwal, the head of Amazon India, announced plans to spend $1 billion to bring small and medium-sized businesses online across the country.


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