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Vodafone Idea May Get $4 Billion Investment From Amazon, Verizon: Report

US wireless carrier Verizon and Amazon may invest more than $4 billion (roughly Rs. 29,354 crores) for a stake in India’s Vodafone Idea, the Mint newspaper reported on Thursday.

The struggling Indian telecom firm’s shares rose as much as 30 percent.

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

Vodafone Idea, a joint venture between Britain’s Vodafone and India’s Idea, still owes Rs. 50,000 crores to the Indian government.

Vodafone Idea’s stake-sale talks had been paused pending the court ruling, but Amazon and Verizon are now set to resume them, Mint reported, citing two people aware of the negotiations.

Amazon and Verizon did not respond to Reuters requests for comment outside regular US business hours.

The Tuesday ruling gives Vodafone Idea, India’s third largest telecom firm by subscribers, some respite but analysts say the loss-making company’s financial pressures persist.

Shares in Vodafone Idea hit a more than one-year high before closing up 26.77 percent amid a flurry of news about its fundraising plans.

CNBC-TV18 reported Vodafone Idea could “take stock” of a sale of its optic fibre business at a Friday board meeting scheduled to discuss fundraising plans.

Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management and private equity group KKR were contenders for the business, CNBC-TV18 said.

Vodafone Idea was planning to raise about $1.5 billion (roughly Rs. 11,030 crores) and was working with advisers as it seeks investors, Bloomberg News reported.

Vodafone Idea and KKR declined to comment, while a representative for Brookfield did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

© Thomson Reuters 2020


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