India’s Vodafone Idea says board has no proposal from Amazon, Verizon

Vodafone Idea (VODA.NS) said on Thursday its board had no investment proposal to consider from United States wireless carrier Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) or Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O).

The Indian mobile firm added, however, that it constantly evaluates opportunities for enhancing stakeholders’ value.

Vodafone Idea’s statement followed a report in local newspaper the Mint that Verizon and Amazon may invest more than $4 billion for a stake in heavily indebted Vodafone Idea.

The telecoms carrier’s shares rose as much as 30% following the report.

Vodafone Idea won something of a reprieve this week as India’s top court gave mobile carriers 10 years to settle government dues, but the company’s longer-term problems are not over.

Vodafone Idea, a joint venture between Britain’s Vodafone Group (VOD.L) and India’s Idea Cellular, still owes roughly $6.8 billion to the Indian government.

Vodafone Idea’s stake-sale talks had been paused pending the court ruling, but Amazon and Verizon are now set to resume them, Mint reported, citing two people aware of the negotiations. (bit.ly/356USDD)

Amazon and Verizon did not respond to Reuters requests for comment.

Shares in Vodafone Idea hit a more than one-year high before closing up 26.77% amid a flurry of news about its fundraising plans.

CNBC-TV18 reported Vodafone Idea could “take stock” of a sale of its optic fibre business at a Friday board meeting scheduled to discuss fundraising plans. (bit.ly/352vP4A)

Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management Inc (BAMa.TO) and private equity group KKR & Co Inc (KKR.N) were contenders for the business, CNBC-TV18 said.

Vodafone Idea was planning to raise about $1.5 billion and was working with advisers as it seeks investors, Bloomberg News reported.

Vodafone Idea and KKR declined to comment, while a representative for Brookfield did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reuters

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