Amazon.com Inc. and US wireless carrier Verizon Communications are likely to buy a significant stake in struggling Vodafone Idea Ltd for more than $4 billion, the Mint newspaper reported on Thursday, sending shares in the struggling Indian telecom firm up 10%.
The Vodafone Idea’s stake-sale talks were paused because the outcome of a Supreme Court hearing on staggered payments of government dues was uncertain and could have threatened Vodafone Idea’s survival, Mint reported.
Following Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday to give telcos 10 years to settle a total of ₹1.4 trillion government dues, Amazon and Verizon are set to resume discussions.
As per the government, Vodafone Idea has outstanding dues of Rs 58,250 crore till 2016-17, out of which the company has paid Rs 7,854 crore to the Department of Telecom.
Vodafone Idea has paid the government 78.5 billion rupees ($1.1 billion) in telecoms dues, according to regulatory filings, but still owes roughly 500 billion rupees ($6.8 billion) more.
Vodafone Idea has said that its board will meet on Friday to consider fund raising through various means. The fundraising is crucial for cash-strapped Vodafone Idea to pay government dues and invest in upgrading its network, a process that was halted for lack of funds.
The board will also consider raising funds through securities including securities convertible into equity shares, global depository receipts, American depository receipts or bonds including foreign currency convertible bonds, convertible debentures, warrants, and/or non-convertible debentures including non-convertible debentures along with warrants, which may or may not be listed.
Besides, VIL’s 11.15 per cent stake in Indus Towers has an estimated value of Rs 4,040 crore.
The company will make prepayment of Rs 2,400 crore to the Indus tower-Bharti Infratel merged entity from cash that it will get from Bharti Airtel’s mobile tower arm. This implies the company will get around Rs 1,600 crore inflow from stake sale in tower company.
Shares in Vodafone Idea, which ended 13% lower after Tuesday’s court ruling, were up 8% at 10.70 rupees on the NSE index by 0405 GMT.
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