Facebook buys 9.9% stake in Reliance Jio for Rs 43,574 crore ($5.7B)
Reliance Jio, the telecom unit of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), has sold a 9.99 per cent stake to US tech giant Facebook for $5.7 billion (Rs 43,574 cr), in a deal that puts the pre-money enterpise value of Jio Platforms at Rs 4.62 lakh crore, which helps the Indian oil-to-telecom conglomerate to significantly cut debt.
The multibillion-dollar deal will make Facebook the largest minority shareholder in Jio Platforms Limited. Calling the partnership unprecedented in many ways, RIL said this is the largest investment for a minority stake by a technology company anywhere in the world and the largest FDI in the technology sector in India.
The deal will help reduce RIL’s debt burden, which bulged due to the breakneck expansion of Jio and other businesses. Ambani invested around $40 billion to launch Jio in 2016. RIL is also the largest retail player in India thanks to a series of aggressive expansionary moves into consumer-facing businesses such as e-commerce and grocery.
For Facebook, India has in recent years emerged as a critical market. The company has more users in India than any other country. Its WhatsApp chat service, which has attracted 340 million users and is about to launch a key payments service will take on incumbents Paytm, Google Pay, PhonePe and Amazon Pay.