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No plans to sell stake, says Bharti Airtel

Indian telco Bhari Airtel has said that there was no proposal to sell a stake in the company.

The declaration was made in response to a report from local news outlet Business Standard that Japanese investment firm SoftBank was eyeing a stake in the telco.

In a statement made to the National Stock Exchange on Monday, the company said: “It is clarified that at this juncture, there is no proposal for sale of stake in Bharti Airtel, either directly or indirectly.”

The statement goes on to say that the story was nothing more than a “speculative news item”.

It had previously been reported that Airtel had applied for approval to increase foreign direct investment to 100% as promoter entities. It is believed that this may include investment from its own overseas entities and Singtel. The latter currently owns 48% of Bharti Telecom, which in turn owns 41% in Airtel. 

The proposed extra investment would take total foreign investment in Airtel to over 85%, which would require government approval.

Any investment could come as a boost for Bhari Airtel which is competing against the newly merged Vodafone-Idea and upstart Reliance Jio in a price-sensitive market.