Reliance's Jio Platforms raises $1.5B from private equity giant KKR
Jio Platforms, the telecom-to-commerce internet ecosystem built by Reliance Industries, has picked up its fifth foreign investment in a month.
US-based private equity giant KKR will invest $1.5 billion (approximately Rs 11,367 crore) for a 2.32 percent stake in the entity. With this investment, Jio Platforms has now diluted about 17.1 percent stake for $10.5 billion (Rs 78,562 crore) in the last few weeks.
KKR would be making the investment from its Asia private equity and growth technology funds. This investment follows significant fund infusions in Jio Platforms from Facebook ($5.7 billion), Silver Lake Partners ($747 million), Vista Equity Partners ($1.5 billion), and General Atlantic ($870 million).
Jio Platforms is likely to dilute an additional 2.5 percent to 3 percent equity in the coming weeks, as Reliance looks to make Jio debt-free this year.
KKR, one of the world's earliest PE firms, has a rich history of scaling technology and media businesses into global enterprises.
In Asia, it has backed internet giants like ByteDance and Gojek among others. Globally, KKR has invested over $30 billion in companies till date.
Henry Kravis, Co-founder and Co-CEO of KKR, said,
“Few companies have the potential to transform a country’s digital ecosystem in the way that Jio Platforms is doing in India, and potentially worldwide. We are investing behind Jio Platforms’ impressive momentum, world-class innovation, and strong leadership team, and we view this landmark investment as a strong indicator of KKR’s commitment to supporting leading technology companies in India and the Asia-Pacific.”
Jio has about 388 million subscribers, making it India's largest telecom network.
Jio’s vast ecosystem — rechristened as Jio Platforms late last year — includes a slew of internet-led services, such as telecom, broadband, ecommerce, news, entertainment, learning, cloud, communication, health, and more.
Analysts believe that Reliance is planning to take Jio public in the near future, and the interest from top-tier foreign investors will give it a handsome valuation akin to that of global tech companies.
Calling KKR a "valued partner", Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, said, “I am delighted to welcome KKR, one of the world’s most respected financial investors... KKR has a proven track record of being a valuable partner to industry-leading franchises and has been committed to India for many years. We are looking forward to leveraging KKR’s global platform, industry knowledge and operational expertise to further grow Jio.”
Morgan Stanley acted as financial advisor to Reliance Industries, and AZB & Partners and Davis Polk & Wardwell acted as legal counsel in the transaction, which is now subject to customary regulatory approvals.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)