Vodafone Idea share price jumps over 31% after report of Google eyeing stake

Vodafone Idea Limited’s shares surged by more than 31% during early trading on Friday after reports said tech giant Google is looking to buy a 5% stake in the cash-strapped telecom company, owned by Vodafone Plc of the UK and Aditya Birla Group.

At 12:20pm, Vodafone Idea was trading 25.43% higher at Rs 7.30 per share.

A deal with Google could be a lifeline for Vodafone Idea, which owes as much as Rs 54,000 crore in adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues to the government.

Vodafone Plc and Aditya Birla Group own 44.39% and 27.18% stake, respectively, in Vodafone Idea, and have valued their stake in the company at zero. Both partners have also frozen any fresh investment into the firm in view of its huge losses and liabilities.

Vodafone Idea had posted losses of Rs 6,453 crore in the December quarter. Revenue in the period rose 2.26% to Rs 11,089.4 crore, thanks to 4G customer additions and improvement in average revenue per user.

Ebitda, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, increased marginally to Rs 3,420.5 crore, while Ebitda margin fell 47 basis points to 30.84%.

The company is yet to announce its March quarter earnings.

According to news agency ANI, experts have said a potential deal between Google and Vodafone Idea will heat up competition in one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing data consumption markets.

The report comes almost a month after social media giant Facebook picked up 9.9% stake for Rs 43,574 crore in Reliance Industries’ Jio Platforms.

Jio Platforms has since seen investments from global private equity players such as General Atlantic, Silver Lake Partners, Silver Lake Partners and KKR.

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