Silver Lake invests another $602m in India’s Reliance’s Jio

Jio
The US private equity firm and its co-investors will hold a 2.1% stake in Reliance’s Jio Platforms unit, according to a Mumbai exchange filing.
Image Credit: Bloomberg

US private equity firm and co-investors will hold a 2.1% stake in Reliance’s Jio Platforms

Mumbai: A group led by Silver Lake Partners agreed to invest another 45.5 billion rupees ($602 million) in Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd.’s digital arm, in the latest vote of confidence in billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s online push.

The US private equity firm and its co-investors will hold a 2.1% stake in Reliance’s Jio Platforms unit, according to a Mumbai exchange filing Friday. The deal follows Silver Lake’s initial investment of 56.6 billion rupees in the company announced last month.

The digital unit has now raised about $12 billion in less than six weeks from a lineup of marquee buyers including Facebook Inc. and U.S. buyout firm KKR & Co. Earlier Friday, Reliance announced that Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Co. will invest $1.2 billion in Jio Platforms. It’s now valued at about $65 billion.

The latest stake sale comes amid a report that Amazon.com Inc. is in preliminary talks to buy a stake in No. 2 Indian carrier Bharti Airtel Ltd. for at least $2 billion. The U.S. online retailer is in early-stage discussions to buy about a 5% holding in the Indian wireless operator, Reuters said, citing unidentified people.

American technology and investment giants have been buying into Indian companies to build their presence in Asia’s second-most populous nation.

The string of investments will go toward Ambani’s stated goal of slashing net debt to zero at Reliance Industries, an oil-refining, petrochemicals, retail and telecommunications conglomerate that’s India’s largest company. The outside money has also helped set a valuation for Jio as it prepares for a listing.

Jio Platforms combines Reliance’s digital assets with its wireless carrier, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., into a holding company aimed at becoming a top e-commerce and payments operator in the vast Indian market. The latest deal helps bolster Ambani’s plan to shift his conglomerate away from oil and petrochemicals toward faster-growing consumer businesses.

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund are also in advanced talks to buy stakes in Jio Platforms, people familiar with the matter said earlier.

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