Google to invest up to $1 billion in Airtel's parent firm

Friday January 28 2022

An Airtel shop in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG


Alphabet Inc's Google will invest up to $1 billion in Bharti Airtel in a move that could help bolster the Indian telecom operator's digital offerings, the companies said on Friday.

The deal includes a $700 million equity investment in Airtel at a price of 734 rupees ($9.77) per share and up to $300 million towards implementing commercial agreements, including investments in scaling Airtel's offerings, the companies said.

The share issue is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval and comes months after Airtel raised up to 210 billion rupees through a sale of shares to existing shareholders.

Airtel shares were up 0.54 percent at 711 rupees after the announcement.

Google announced plans less than two years ago to infuse $10 billion (Sh1.1 trillion) in India via its digitisation fund over five to seven years through equity deals and tie-ups.

Conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd's digital unit Jio Platforms, which houses Airtel's telecom rival Jio, received an investment of $4.5 billion from Google in July 2020. In return, the US tech behemoth got a seat on Jio's board.