A top Verizon official has denied reports which suggested that the US telecom company is planning to acquire Vodafone Idea, according to a report by The Times of India.
Sowmyanarayan Sampath, chief executive officer (CEO) of Verizon Consumer Group, told reporters that the company is "definitely not" buying Vodafone and that the issue was not about regulatory climate but opportunity. Verizon would have looked at India if the US wasn't big enough or wasn't growing.
There is an opportunity for the consumer division to grow further in the US, and therefore, the company is staying focused and doubling down capital commitments there, he added.
Denying that it was in discussions with Vodafone Idea with Verizon, Amazon, or Starlink, Vodafone Idea said that India is an important part of the company's growth plans.
"We wish to submit that the said news item is incorrect. The company is not in any such discussion with any of the named parties," Vodafone Idea said in an exchange filing.
The company also informed the exchanges that it had made the payment of Rs 1,701 crore, including interest, to the Department of Telecom (DoT) about the 2022 spectrum auction instalment.
In August, Vodafone Idea stated that it proposed to pay the instalment of nearly Rs 1,680 crore to the DoT by availing a grace period of 30 days with interest. It has managed to do so within 30 days.
Media reports on August 17 said that the three US giants are in the race to acquire the loss-making telco by buying out part of the promoters' and government stake. The reports suggested that one of the three companies was likely to invest around $4 billion initially, and the total acquisition cost could be as much as $10 billion.
Vodafone Idea is promoted by UK's Vodafone Group and Indian conglomerate Aditya Birla Group, both holding a 50.1 per cent stake. In February 2023, the central government became the company's biggest shareholder with a 33.1 per cent stake after it converted the telco's accrued interest into equity.
Verizon registered consolidated revenue of $32.6 billion for the quarter ended June 2023. Consumer business revenue was recorded at $24.6 billion.