Amazon is reportedly in talks to by stake worth $2 billion in India’s third-largest telco Bharti Airtel. The planned investment, if completed, would see Amazon acquire a roughly 5 per cent stake based on the current market value. Giving Bharti Airtel a boost as it seeks to compete against the number one player Reliance Jio.
Airtel dropped to the third position from second in 2019 after Reliance Jio took the lead just three years after entering the telecom space in India.
Amazon has 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 market.
Reportedly, Amazon counts India as a crucial growth market where it has committed $6.5 billion in investments mainly toward expanding its e-commerce footprint.
A deal with Bharti could help Amazon expand offerings via its smart speakers and also boost its cloud business as access to Bharti’s vast telecom fibre network and additionally lower costs. Already, Reliance’s Jio has already partnered with Microsoft for use of its Azure cloud platform which Amazon might take up with the Bharti Airtel deal.
However, the talks between the two entities are at an early stage and the deal terms could change, or an agreement may not be reached.
“If talks to buy a stake fail, the companies could also look at a commercial transaction that could give Bharti’s customers cheap access to Amazon products,”
An Amazon spokeswoman said the company does “not offer comments on speculation of what we may or may not do in future.”
Commenting on the deal, Bharti Airtel 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,”