Vodafone Idea, has denied media reports that tech titan Google was eyeing a minority stake in Vodafone Inc’s India business. “Currently, there is no proposal as reported by the media that is being considered at the Board,” Vodafone Idea clarified in a regulatory filing to the exchanges. News agency Bloomberg had earlier reported, quoting Financial Times, that Alphabet Inc’s Google was considering acquiring a stake in Vodafone Group Plc’s struggling Indian business. Google may take a stake of about 5 per cent in Vodafone Idea, though the deliberations are at a very early state, the report had added.
At the same time, Vodafone Idea pointed out that it evaluates opportunities at any given time. “As part of corporate strategy, the company constantly evaluates various opportunities for enhancing the stakeholders’ value,” the company said.
An investment by Google in Vodafone Idea, if it materialises, would pit the search giant against Facebook, which has already picked up a stake in Reliance Industries’ subsidiary, Jio Platforms. India has been a critical component of Google’s Next Billion Users initiative, which is an attempt to rope in millions of users as they come on the internet in emerging markets such as India.
Vodafone Idea reiterated that it will comply with disclosure obligations under the SEBI regulations as and when proposals are considered by the board of directors.
The stock of Vodafone Idea had rallied about 35 per cent on the BSE to an intra-day high of Rs 7.85 in mid-day trading. However, the stock trimmed its gains post the clarification and ended the trading session at Rs 6.56, higher by Rs 0.74 or 12 per cent, on the BSE.