Amazon.com is planning to buy a stake worth at least USD 2 billion in mobile operator Bharti Airtel, which is India’s third-largest telecoms company with more than 300 million subscribers. Underscoring the growing attraction of India’s digital economy for U.S. tech giants, this has been revealed by the sources of Amazon and Bharati Airtel on Thursday.
Amazon and Bharti Airtel discussions took place when the global players are placing major bets on the digital arm of Reliance Industries RELI.NS, which owns Bharti’s telecom rival Jio. Reliance’s digital unit has raised $10 billion in recent weeks from Facebook FB.O, KKR KKR.N, and others.
If the investment is completed, Amazon would acquire a 5% stake based on the current market value of Bharti.
According to an Amazon spokeswoman, the company does not offer comments on speculation of what we may or may not do in future.
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.
Bharti Airtel in a statement 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”.
Recently, Amazon a group of Amazon.com Inc. warehouse employees sued the online retail giant, claiming its working conditions put not only them at risk of contracting the coronavirus but also their family members, including one who died.
On Thursday Amazon in a statement said, “Over 150 processes have been updated to protect employees, and the company is spending over $800 million in the first half of 2020 on coronavirus safety measures. Workers diagnosed with the virus are also being offered additional paid time off”.