Amazon, Verizon Could Take $4B Stake In Vodafone Idea

Amazon, Verizon Mull Stake In Vodafone Idea

Verizon and Amazon may invest more than $4 billion in India’s Vodafone Idea mobile carrier – and negotiations around a deal could begin imminently, The Mint reported on Thursday (Sept. 3).

Attributing the information to two unnamed sources familiar with negotiations involving the three companies, The Mint states in the Mumbai-datelined article: “The stake-sale talks were paused because the outcome of (an Indian) Supreme Court case on staggered payments of government dues was uncertain and could have threatened the survival of Vodafone Idea.”

On Tuesday (Sept. 1), India’s Supreme Court gave telecommunication companies 10 years to make payments they owe to the government.

The decision “paves the way for a resumption of the negotiations,” The Mint wrote.

Vodafone denied the reports, saying it had not received an offer from either company, reported Reuters.

A Reuters report on the court ruling states: “Vodafone Idea, a joint venture between Britain’s Vodafone Group (VOD.L) and India’s Idea Cellular, still owes roughly $6.8 billion to the Indian government.”

According to multiple reports beginning in July, Vodafone Idea has been short on cash and has struggled to pay vendors. The company’s senior counsel is quoted as having said in July that the possibility of being required to pay its government obligations soon creates an “extremely precarious situation for the company and it is not in a position to give fresh bank guarantees.”

The Mint adds: “In a late-night filing on Tuesday, Vodafone Idea said that its board will meet on 4 September to consider proposals for fundraising.”

The Mint article states that no representatives of the companies would comment.

India is seen as rich soil for mobile services, especially mobile payments, with studies showing a significant appetite for digital currency transactions.

For Vodafone Idea’s British parent company, a relationship with Amazon wouldn’t be anything new. As of June, subscribers in the U.K. have been able to make Alexa queries through their mobile phones.