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CCI approves Google’s 1.28% stake buy in Bharti Airtel

The Competition Commission of India approved Google’s investment of nearly $1 billion for 1.28% in Bharti Airtel.

“The CCI approved the proposed combination on the basis of modifications offered by the Acquirer (Google International LLC),” the agency said in a statement on Thursday.

Google and Airtel have executed an Investment Agreement (IA) per which the Acquirer proposes to acquire a minority and non-controlling stake of 1.28% of equity share capital. Along with the IA, the acquirer and the target through their affiliates have also entered into certain commercial deals.

The body added that the companies also intend to enter into certain other commercial arrangements in future.

Google had said in January this year that it will invest up to $1 billion in India’s No 2 telecom services provider Bharti Airtel through an equity purchase of 1.28% for $700 million and commercial agreement of $300 million on mutual terms over the next five years.

The investment comes on the back of the internet search giant having invested $4.5 billion in Reliance Jio back in July 2020, both part of the Google for India Digitization Fund, making it an investor in two rival telecom service providers in the sector.

Google has already partnered with Reliance Jio to launch of low cost smartphone – JioNext – with an optimized Android OS, as part of Google’s investment into Jio last year. Jio Platforms, the holding company of Reliance Jio, has also received a $5.7 billion investment from Facebook, now Meta, for a 9.99% stake. Livemint

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