The company led by Sundar Pichai has been in “advanced stages of negotiations” with Airtel for “almost a year” and the size of the deal could be “substantially large,” key sources familiar with the developments told TOI.
The contours of the partnership are worked on for months as senior executives at both companies, and their internal and external legal and M&A teams debate the finer points of the arrangement.
Queries to Google and Airtel went unanswered at the time of going to press. Additionally, Google did not respond to whether its deal with Jio requires the company to partner with a rival.
If the Google-Airtel deal comes to fruition, it could be a huge respite for Sunil Mittal, whose company faces stiff competition in the cash-hungry telecommunications industry.
Ambani had shaken up the industry’s long-standing financial model, making voice – which then gave 75% of the industry’s revenue – completely free, while offering data at very low prices, putting pressure on Airtel and other private players such as Vodafone. India and Idea Cellular. Financial stress increased after the Supreme Court ruling on AGR.
Airtel, whose board of directors will meet on Sunday to review fundraising plans, remains under pressure. The company was in debt of almost Rs lakh 1.6 crore at the end of June and is unable to freely increase tariffs.
Sources said any deal with Google would be a mega confidence booster for the company.
“Google’s entry strengthens Airtel’s track record. In addition, it helps the business strategically, as Google brings innovation capabilities and strength on data analytics. Google’s data monetization is far superior to any other company in the world, and it can help Airtel better monetize its data to improve its achievements and profitability, ”a leading analyst said on condition of anonymity. .
However, the analyst added that Google would need “very solid reasons” and very comfortable ratings to enter Airtel, which also poses “significant risks” for anyone entering the company. “If something goes wrong tomorrow, your (Google) credibility in the market will die out even though it will be limited liability. To save its name, the company will have to pay its dues in case Airtel is unable to move forward due to financial pressures and starts to go down.