General Atlantic, the U.S. investment firm that helped fund Airbnb and Uber, will invest about 66 billion rupees ($873 million) in Reliance Industries’s Jio Platforms.
The deal to acquire a 1.3% stake values Jio Platforms at an enterprise value of 5.16 trillion rupees ($68 billion), the company said. The transaction takes the total investment raised by Jio to 671.9 billion rupees after it sold stakes to Facebook, Silver Lake and Vista Equity Partners.
Investors are betting on Jio’s access to India’s huge consumer market, and its potential to shake up traditional industries in the country — from retail to education and payments — with its technology. India is the only major open Internet market where foreign technology giants such as Amazon.com Inc., Walmart Inc. and Google’s parent Alphabet Inc. can compete for market share.
“General Atlantic’s endorsement and partnership energizes Jio’s young team to set, and achieve, even more ambitious goals,” said Akash Ambani, director of Reliance Jio, and Chairman Mukesh Ambani’s son. “Jio is committed to make a digitally inclusive India that will provide immense opportunities to every Indian citizen especially to our highly talented youth.”
Jio Platforms, a wholly owned unit of Reliance Industries, brings together Jio’s digital apps, ecosystems and the wireless platform offered by telecommunications carrier, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., under one umbrella, according to the Mumbai-based company.
Saudi Arabia’s $320 billion sovereign wealth fund is also considering purchasing a minority stake in Jio, Bloomberg News reported on May 9.