Vodafone Idea still owes roughly $6.8 billion to the government

US wireless carrier Verizon Communications Inc and Amazon.com Inc may invest more than $4 billion for a stake in Vodafone Idea, the Mint newspaper reported on Thursday. Shares of Vodafone Idea rose as much as 30 per cent. The news comes days after the Supreme Court ruled that mobile carriers must settle government dues within 10 years, giving Vodafone Idea some reprieve in a case it had said could affect its ability to continue as a going concern.

Vodafone Idea, a joint venture between Britain’s Vodafone Group and Idea Cellular, still owes roughly $6.8 billion to the 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.

Amazon and Verizon did not respond to Reuters requests for comment outside regular US business hours.

The Tuesday ruling gives Vodafone Idea – India’s third largest telecom firm by subscribers – some respite but analysts say the loss-making company’s financial pressures persist.

Shares in Vodafone Idea hit a more than one-year high before closing up 26.77 per cent 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.

Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management Inc and private equity group KKR & Co Inc 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.



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