Vodafone Idea has denied reports that it is the target for acquisition, a rumor that was spread on social media and by PGurus. The stock price of the Indian cell service provider rose by 20 percent as talk turned to the possibility of a takeover by Verizon, Amazon or even Starlink, but then fell four percent after the denial.
An acquisition of the debt-ridden company would not be a surprise. Just last month, it had to borrow more than $240 million to pay its bills. In its most recent quarter, losses totaled $83 million, and at the end of June, total gross debt amounted to $25.5 billion.
In 2022, the Indian government took a 35.8 percent stake in the distressed telecom provider becoming its largest shareholder, according to the Economic Times of India. It also deferred the payments for spectrum purchased by Vodafone Idea for four years.
Idea Cellular and Vodafone India completed a merger in August 2018 to become Vodafone Idea, which made it the largest telecom company in India with 400 million subscribers at the time. But since then, it has lost 100 million subscribers to well-financed new market entrant Reliance Jio Platforms, according to the Economic Times, which has become the largest subscriber carrier in India.