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UPDATE 4-India's Vodafone Idea says board has no proposal from Amazon, Verizon

Thu, 3rd Sep 2020 05:22

(Adds Vodafone comment)

BENGALURU, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Vodafone Idea said
on Thursday its board had no investment proposal to consider
from U.S. wireless carrier Verizon Communications Inc or
Amazon.com Inc.

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 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. (https://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. (https://bit.ly/352vP4A)

Canada's Brookfield Asset Management Inc and
private equity group KKR & Co Inc 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.
(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar and Sethuraman N.R.; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu, Shounak Dasgupta and Tom Brown)

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