Amazon, Verizon may invest over US$4 billion in India's Vodafone Idea: report

Amazon, Verizon may invest over US$4 billion in India's Vodafone Idea: report

Man speaks on his mobile phone as he walks past the logos of Vodafone painted on a roadside wall in
FILE PHOTO: A man speaks on his mobile phone as he walks past logos of Vodafone painted on a roadside wall in Kolkata May 20, 2014. (REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/File Photo)

BENGALURU: U.S. wireless carrier Verizon Communications Inc and Amazon.com Inc may invest more than US$4 billion for a stake in India's Vodafone Idea Ltd , the Mint newspaper reported on Thursday, sending shares in the struggling Indian telecom firm up as much as 14per cent.

The news comes two days after India's Supreme Court ruled that mobile carriers must settle government dues within 10 years, giving Vodafone Idea some reprieve in a case that it had said could affect its ability to continue as a going concern.

Vodafone Idea, a joint venture between Britain's Vodafone Group Plc and India's Idea Cellular, still owes roughly 500 billion rupees (US$6.8 billion) to the Indian government. It is among India's top three telecom firms by subscribers.

Vodafone Idea's stake-sale talks had been paused pending the court ruling, but Amazon and Verizon are now set to resume discussions, Mint reported https://www.livemint.com/companies/news/amazon-verizon-may-give-voda-idea-lifeline-11599102122521.html, citing two unnamed people aware of the negotiations.

Amazon and Verizon did not return emails seeking comment outside regular U.S. business hours.

Shares in Vodafone Idea were up 9.6per cent at 10.85 rupees by 0645 GMT.

The Financial Times reported in May that Alphabet Inc's Google was considering buying a roughly 5per cent stake in Vodafone Idea. Reuters reported in June that Amazon was in talks to buy a stake in Vodafone Idea's Indian rival Bharti Airtel .

Separately on Thursday, Indian news channel CNBC-TV 18 reported https://twitter.com/CNBCTV18Live/status/1301401243047268352 that Vodafone Idea could "take stock" of a sale of its optic fibre business at a Friday board meeting scheduled to consider a fundraising plan.

Canada's Brookfield Asset Management Inc and private equity group KKR were contenders for the business, with Brookfield seen as the frontrunner, CNBC-TV 18 said.

Vodafone Idea declined to comment on "speculation" when contacted by Reuters. Representatives for Brookfield and KKR did not immediately return Reuters emails seeking comment.

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

Source: Reuters/nc

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