Airtel greenlights Google investment

28 Feb 2022

Indian telecoms group Bharti Airtel has approved plans to issue preferential shares to Google as part of a deal that would see the US tech giant invest around INR75 billion (USD1 billion) in the company to purchase a 1.28% stake in Bharti Airtel. The Business Standard writes that the investment comprised around USD700 million for equity and USD300 million that would be put towards commercial agreements, including device affordability programmes and digital inclusion projects.

Separately, meanwhile, Airtel is also set to acquire a 4.7% stake in Indus Towers from the UK’s Vodafone Group. According to the Economic Times, Vodafone must invest the proceeds in its Indian subsidiary, Vodafone Idea (Vi), which should use the money to clear its payment arears to Indus. Airtel currently holds a 41.7% stake in the tower venture. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Airtel claimed that the purchase ‘would be at an attractive price, representing a significant discount typically available for such large block transactions’.

India, Bharti Airtel, Google (Alphabet), Indus Towers, Vi (Vodafone Idea Limited, VIL)