Google exploring investment opportunities in struggling Vodafone Idea

Alphabet’s Google is exploring an investment in Vodafone Group’s struggling India business, the Financial Times reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. Google is considering buying a stake of about 5 percent in Vodafone Idea, the FT reported, citing one of the people. The process is at an early stage, according to the report.

“Google parent Alphabet has also held talks about acquiring a stake in Jio but has lagged behind its rival in securing a deal. Pursuing Vodafone Idea instead would potentially pit Google against Facebook and an increasingly dominant Jio but the company could also make multiple investments in India,” the FT wrote in the report.

Vodafone said it does not comment on market speculation, while Google was still to comment.

Last month, Facebook Inc agreed to invest $5.7 billion for a 9.99% stake in Reliance Industries’ digital arm, Jio, which competes with Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel Ltd in India’s fiercely competitive telecom market. Jio has also secured investments from Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners, General Atlantic, and KKR. Reuters earlier today reported that Abu Dhabi state fund is also in talks with Reliance for a possible investment in Jio.