Amazon said to be in talks to buy stake in Indian telco Bharti Airtel for $2b

Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg

Amazon.com  is in early-stage talks to buy a stake worth at least $2 billion (£1.60 billion) in Indian mobile operator Bharti Airtel, three sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, underscoring the growing attraction of India’s digital economy for U.S. tech giants.

The planned investment, if completed, would mean Amazon acquiring a roughly 5% stake based on the current market value of Bharti, which is India’s third-largest telecoms company with more than 300 million subscribers.

The discussions between Amazon and Bharti come at a time when global players are placing major bets on the digital arm of Reliance Industries, which owns Bharti’s telecom rival Jio.

Reliance’s digital unit has raised $10 billion in recent weeks from Facebook, KKR and others.

The talks between Bharti and Amazon are at an early stage and the deal terms could change, or an agreement may not be reached, said two of the three sources, all of whom declined to be identified because the discussions are confidential.

An Amazon spokeswoman said the company does “not offer comments on speculation of what we may or may not do in future.”

Bharti said they routinely work with all digital players to bring their products, content and services to customers. “Beyond that there is no other activity to report,” it said in a statement.

Amazon counts India as a crucial growth market where it has committed $6.5 billion in investments mainly toward expanding its e-commerce footprint.

The Seattle-based company has in recent years also expanded its digital offerings in India via its voice-activated speakers, video streaming and cloud storage, as it seeks to tap a rising number of internet and smartphone users in the country of 1.3 billion people.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.