India's Vodafone Idea says board has no proposal from Amazon, Verizon - Metro US

India’s Vodafone Idea says board has no proposal from Amazon, Verizon

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BENGALURU (Reuters) – Vodafone Idea <VODA.NS> said on Thursday its board had no investment proposal to consider from U.S. wireless carrier Verizon Communications Inc <VZ.N> or Amazon.com Inc <AMZN.O>.

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 <VOD.L> 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 <BAMa.TO> and private equity group KKR & Co Inc <KKR.N> 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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