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Google to invest $1 billion in Airtel

The investment will be for potential commercial agreements for the next five years.

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Mumbai: Bharti Airtel and Google on Friday announced that the latter intends to invest $ one billion in the telecom major as part of its Google for India Digitisation Fund which includes equity investment as well as a corpus.

The investment will be for potential commercial agreements to be identified and agreed on mutually agreeable terms over the next five years. This will comprise a $700 million investment in Bharti Airtel at a price per share of Rs 734. Up to $300 million of that will go towards implementing commercial agreements which will include scaling Airtel’s offerings. Google will acquire a 1.2 per cent shareholding of Bharti Airtel including partly paid shares.

The deal will be subject to regulatory approvals.

“Airtel and Google share the vision to grow India’s digital dividend through innovative products,” said Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal. “With our future-ready network, digital platforms, last-mile distribution and payments ecosystem, we look forward to working closely with Google to increase the depth and breadth of India’s digital ecosystem.”

Airtel and Google will work together to explore opportunities to bring down barriers of owning a smartphone in partnership with various device manufacturers, potentially co-create India-specific network domain use cases for 5G and other standards and focus on growing and shaping the cloud ecosystem in India.

“Airtel is a leading pioneer shaping India’s digital future, and we are proud to partner on a shared vision for expanding connectivity and ensuring equitable access to the Internet for more Indians,” said Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. “Our commercial and equity investment in Airtel is a continuation of our Google for India Digitization Fund's efforts to increase access to smartphones, enhance connectivity to support new business models, and help companies on their digital transformation journey.”

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