Bharti Airtel has clarified that it works with digital and OTT platforms from time-to-time, but has no other activity to report. The statement came in response to an agency report which claimed Seattle-based retail giant Amazon is planning to buy stake in the Indian telecom major.
"We routinely work with all digital and OTT players and have deep engagement with them to bring their products, content and services for our wide customer base. Beyond that there is no other activity to report," Bharti Airtel said in a statement.
News agency Reuters had reported that Amazon is in early-stage talks to buy stake worth $2 billion in Bharti Airtel. This translates to 5 per cent stake based on the current market valuation of the Sunil Mittal-led telecom operator. The report also talked about the possibility of Airtel and Amazon agreeing on a commercial transaction where the former would offer the latter's products at cheaper rates.
On May 26, promoter firm Bharti Telecom sold its 2.75 per cent stake in Bharti Airtel for Rs 8,443 crore to institutional investors in the secondary market. The sale proceeds are to be fully utilised to repay debt at Bharti Telecom. Bharti Enterprises and SingTel, which own Bharti Telecom, will continue to hold a majority stake in Bharti Airtel at 56.23 per cent after the transaction.
This partial stake sale was meant to fortify the promoter firm Bharti Telecom in the current times of upheaval for companies across the board and prepare the company for a bigger battle with Mukesh Amabnai-led Reliance Jio. The digital arm of Reliance Industries, Jio Platforms, has secured some significant deal with Facebook, KKR, Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners and General Atlantic, all within a month.
Airtel has also shared plans to integrate tech and telecom to build a digital platform to take on Jio's ambitions of evolving into a tech and consumer company. To scale up its digital platforms business, Airtel has been betting on four pillars: data, distribution, payments, and network.
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