Amazon in Early Talks To Buy $2 Billion Stake in Airtel

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Amazon, the retail giant is being reported 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.

“Jio has transformed itself from a pure mobile operator to a digital technology led consumer-facing platform, and Airtel can do the same,” one source told the publication.

Interestingly, Amazon has been mulling upping the investment upward to 10% as per a second source.

If the deal does not materialize. the companies could also look at a relationship where Bharti customers can have cheap access to Amazon products.

India’s huge population of over 1.3 billion people and with over 560 million internet users is textbook catnip for large internet companies. They view India as the next battleground for growth and they are pumping billions on key companies to ensure growth.

This report comes after Facebook said they will acquire a 9.99% stake at Jio Platforms which was valued at $5.7 billion. This deal gave Facebook access to Jio’s 370 million subscribers in a booming mobile market in the country.

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.