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Google to invest up to $1 billion in Bharti Airtel

As part of this partnership, Google intends to invest up to $1 billion, as part of its Google for India Digitization Fund, which includes equity investment as well as a corpus for potential commercial agreements, to be identified and agreed on mutually agreeable terms over the course of the next five years

January 28, 2022 / 10:56 AM IST

The board of Bharti Airtel has approved issuance of 7.1 crore equity shares to Google on preferential basis, the telecom major announced on January 28. India's second largest telecom operator will partner search engine giant Google on a long-term, multi-year agreement to accelerate the growth of country's digital ecosystem.

As part of this partnership, Google intends to invest up to $1 billion, as part of its Google for India Digitization Fund, which includes equity investment as well as a corpus for potential commercial agreements, to be identified and agreed on mutually agreeable terms over the course of the next five years. This includes investment of $700 million to acquire 1.28% ownership in Airtel and up to $300 million toward potential multi-year commercial agreements, Bharti Airtel said in a regulatory filing. This deal will be subject to necessary regulatory approvals, it added.

" ... the Board of Directors (‘Board’) of the Company, at its meeting held today i.e. January 28, 2022, approved the issuance of upto 71,176,839 equity shares of face value of Rs 5- each of the Company to Google International LLC on a preferential basis in accordance with Chapter V of the SEBI (Issue of Capital and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2018 (‘ICDR Regulations’), as amended and other applicable laws, at a price of Rs 734- per equity share aggregating to Rs 52,243.80 million, subject to the approval of regulatory/ statutory authorities and the shareholders of the Company at the Extraordinary General Meeting," the filing said.

As a part of its first commercial agreement, Airtel and Google will work together to build on Airtel’s extensive offerings that covers a range of Android-enabled devices to consumers via innovative affordability programs. Together, the companies will continue to explore further opportunities to bring down the barriers of owning a smartphone across a range of price points, in partnership with various device manufacturers.