Airtel Clarifies on Amazon Deal Report, Says No Such Proposal in Consideration

Telecoms

Bharti Airtel today issued a clarification on a media report that suggested that it was in early-stage talks with Amazon, which is looking to buy a stake worth at $2 billion (roughly Rs. 15,000 crores). Through a note released to National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), the telecom operator said that “no such proposal in consideration” at this stage and it is just “speculative reporting” that came out “despite appropriate timely clarifications” by both companies. The report in question was published by Reuters on Thursday, June 4 notably citing people familiar with the matter.

“We are concerned with such media reports which are published despite appropriate timely clarifications by the respective companies,” Airtel wrote in its clarification note sent to stock exchanges.

The Reuters report mentioned that if the planned investment completes, Amazon would acquire roughly five percent stake in Airtel. It resulted in a six percent increase in the stock price of the operator. However, the company noted in the statement that such reports lead to “unwarranted consequences and can result in reputational impact.”

When reached out for a comment on the reported investment plans, an Airtel spokesperson said that “there is no other activity to report” beyond the fact that it routinely works with all digital players to bring their products, content, and services to customers. Amazon, on the other hand, declined to comment on the matter.

The investment talks between Amazon and Airtel reported days after Google was said to be exploring an investment in Vodafone Idea. The operator, however, clarified in a manner similar to that of Airtel shortly after the news came out last week.

In April, Facebook announced the acquisition of 9.99 percent stake in Jio for Rs. 43,574 crores. That was the first clear evidence showing US tech giants’ interest in the Indian telecom sector.


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