Tech giant Facebook to invest $5.7 billion in Reliance Jio Platforms; largest FDI in India’s tech sector

In one of the significant deals in the digital ecosystem so far, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has announced that Facebook has invested $5.7 billion (Rs 43,574 crore) into Jio Platforms, translating into a 9.99% stake in the Indian conglomerate.

This is the largest investment for a minority stake by a tech company anywhere in the world, according to RIL.

The tech giant said the investment marks its “commitment to India.”

“The country is in the middle of a major digital transformation, and organizations like Jio have played a big part in getting hundreds of millions of Indian people and small businesses online,” Mark Zuckerberg said.

The deal will help the RIL cut its debt that has piled up in its expensive push to secure top spot for its Jio Infocomm telecom business.

RIL has been seeking strategic partnerships to cut net debt to zero by 2021. Also, it is in talks with Saudi Aramco and Brookfield Asset Management, a Canadian equity firm for the same purpose.

“The Facebook investment removes balance sheet risks and adds considerable optionality to retail, digital and internet business segments,” the US-based Bernstein in a statement said.

Earlier in 2019, Facebook and Jio announced ‘Digital Udaan’, a literacy program to remove information asymmetry barriers. This initiative aimed to empower digital literacy in India with the help of audio-visual trainings.

Since its launch, Jio has grown at a sprinter’s pace to become India’s largest telecom company. Jio holds around 32.04% share in the Indian mobile services market, with 36.9 crore mobile subscribers in November 2019.

Follow our entire coverage on the Facebook-Reliance Jio Deal here.

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