Alphabet Inc’s Google will invest up to $1 billion in India’s Bharti Airtel as the U.S. technology bigwig enlarge its hold in India, sending shares of the telecom operator as much as 6.6% higher on Friday, the news made Airtel Nigeria shares climb to a 10% gain becoming the most valued share on Nigeria Stock Market.
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The investment is part of Google’s plans announced under two years ago to infuse $10 billion in India via its digitisation fund over five to seven years through equity deals and tie-ups according to Reuters report.
Google’s investment includes a $700 million equity investment in Airtel at 734 rupees ($9.77) per share and up to $300 million towards implementing commercial agreements, including investments in expanding Airtel’s products and services, the companies said.
“What this will do is actually fire up our digital agenda dramatically and that’s where we will double down and really go deep,” Vittal said, without elaborating on specific plans.
Shares of Airtel closed 1.2% higher at 715.8 rupees on Friday after rising as much as 6.6% to a two-month high earlier in the session.
The Google investment will help Airtel give its customers affordable smartphones, build 5G and accelerate the cloud ecosystem for small and medium enterprises, said Aliasgar Shakir, a telecom analyst at Motilal Oswal Financial Services.
Conglomerate Reliance Industries’ (RELI.NS) digital unit Jio Platforms, which houses Airtel’s rival Jio, received a $4.5 billion investment from Google in July 2020.
Months later, the companies launched a low-cost 4G smartphone with a tweaked Android operating system aimed at first-time smartphone buyers.
With Jio and Airtel, Google now covers nearly 75% of India’s smartphone market, Ambit Capital analyst Vivekanand Subbaraman said.
In Africa, Airtel Africa, a member of the SWOOT (Stocks Worth Over One Trillion), is now the most capitalized company listed on the Nigerian stock exchange, surpassing Dangote Cement, the cement producing giant owned by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote according to Nairametrics report.
Airtel Africa, the second-largest telecoms company in Nigeria crossed the N5 trillion mark for the first on Friday as the stock gained 9.9% to close at N5.4 trillion. This is also the first time any Nigerian company has surpassed N5 trillion in Market Capitalization.
Airtel first surpassed Dangote Cement as the most capitalized stock on Thursday after it gained 10% closing at N1,271. Dangote Cement in contrast fell on Thursday by 8.53% from its 52-week high of N284.90 to close the trading session at N260.60, on profit-taking by investors. This saw Dangote’s market capitalization fall by N414.1 billion, from N4.86 trillion to N4.44 trillion. It remained flat on Friday, January 28.