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Vodafone Idea shares jump 7% as reports hint it could set up a JV with Airtel

The company (Vodafone Idea) is seeking an equal stake in a proposed Rs 40,000-crore optic fibre joint venture with Bharti Airtel to take on Reliance Jio
New Delhi: Vodafone Idea shares surged 7 percent on Friday on the back of reports that suggested that the company is seeking an equal stake in a proposed Rs 40,000-crore optic fibre joint venture with Bharti Airtel to take on Reliance Jio. The share hit a high of Rs 20.45 in the early hours of Friday morning trade and hovered around Rs 18 in the latter half. The stock had opened at Rs 17.85 on BSE as opposed to its previous closing of Rs 17.50.

The impetus

According to a report published in The Economic Times, the proposed joint venture, valued at Rs 35,000-40,000 crore, will be big enough to eclipse Jio's optic fibre network. "Broad agreements to form the JV are in place, with Vodafone Idea’s 156,000 route km of optic fibre and Airtel’s 246,000 route km together eclipsing Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio Infocomm’s 300,000 route km, which is set to be hived off as a separate unit. The intention is to bring in a strategic partner in the JV in about a year from deal closure," ET said. The talks are said to be in an advanced stage. The two telcos plan tp monetise the JV in some time but there is no immediate need because of their ongoing fund initiatives, a source said. The person added that the deal is expected to be closed in the quarter ending on June 30.