Google to invest up to $1 billion in a partnership with Airtel


New Delhi, Jan 28 (UNI) Tech giant Google would invest up to $1 billion in a partnership with Bharti Airtel as part of its Google for India Digitization Fund. The deal includes investment of $ 700 million to acquire 1.28% ownership in Airtel and up to $300 million towards potential multi-year commercial agreements. Airtel Board on Friday approved the issuance of upto 7.1 crore shares to Google on a preferential basis at a price of Rs 734 per equity share worth Rs 5,224.3 crore. Airtel shares traded 1.24% higher at Rs 716.00 on Friday morning on the BSE. "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," Bharti said in a regulatory filing. The telco said that together with Google, they will work to bring best-in-class end-to-end products to serve customer needs, provide quality customer experience, and bring their expertise to solve problems of affordability, access, and digital inclusion. 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," Airtel said.