Reliance sells $1.5B stake in Jio Platforms to Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund

By Sohini Mitter|18th Jun 2020
Jio Platforms raised its 11th foreign investment in nine weeks. Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund is acquiring 2.32 percent stake in the internet business.
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Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF) is investing $1.5 billion (Rs 11,367 crore) for a 2.32 percent stake in Jio Platforms.


This is the 11th foreign investment in Jio Platforms in nine weeks, following fund infusions from Facebook (the largest minority shareholder), Silver Lake Partners, Vista Equity Partners, General Atlantic, KKR, Mubadala, additional investments from Silver Lake companies, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), TPG Capital, and L Catterton.


With the latest investment from PIF, Reliance Industries has divested nearly 25 percent of Jio Platforms as it looks to make it debt-free. The total foreign capital raised stands at about Rs 1,15,694 crore.


Jio

Image: Reliance Industries




PIF’s investment comes at a similar valuation to the recent PE investments. At present, Jio Platforms has an equity valuation of Rs 4.91 lakh crore and an enterprise valuation of Rs 5.16 lakh crore.


Reliance Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani said,


“We at Reliance have enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for many decades. From oil economy, this relationship is now moving to strengthen India’s new oil (data-driven) economy... I welcome PIF as a valued partner in Jio Platforms and look forward to their sustained support and guidance as we take ambitious steps to accelerate India’s digital transformation."


Ambani Jio

Photo: YS Design




Foreign investors are making a beeline for Jio Platforms as it allows them to gain a strong foothold in one of the largest consumer markets in the world through a truly diversified ecosystem, which has a deep presence across offline and online channels.


“They know that Jio is not a digital opportunity alone. It is a hybrid or phygital opportunity, where RIL will marry its prowess in online and offline domains. All their services are now getting tied more closely under Jio,” Sanchit Vir Gogia, Founder and CEO of Greyhound Research, told YourStory in a prior interaction.


Founded in 1971, PIF is one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world with total estimated assets of nearly $400 billion. Its investments are diversified across sectors, geographies, and asset classes. It operates through six investment pools comprising local and global investments, and is aimed at the economic development and diversification of the Saudi economy.


In a media statement, His Excellency Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Governor of PIF, said,


“We are delighted to be investing in an innovative business which is at the forefront of the transformation of the technology sector in India. We believe that the potential of the Indian digital economy is very exciting and that Jio Platforms provides us with an excellent opportunity to gain access to that growth. This investment will also enable us to generate significant long-term commercial returns for the benefit of Saudi Arabia’s economy and our country’s citizens."


The Jio-PIF transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals in India.


Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

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