Saturday, 30 May 2020

General Atlantic purchases almost $1 billion equity in Jio Platforms

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Monday 18 May 20

The latest deal for 1.34% equity in the Jio Platforms will see investment swell to over $8 billion in just one month

Yesterday saw the announcement of yet another investment deal in Jio Platforms, this time from investment firm General Atlantic to the tune of around $870 million.   The deal will give the American fund 1.34% equity in the Indian digital platform, General Atlantic’s largest foray into the Asian market to date…

Yesterday saw the announcement of yet another investment deal in Jio Platforms, this time from investment firm General Atlantic to the tune of around $870 million.
 
The deal will give the American fund 1.34% equity in the Indian digital platform, General Atlantic’s largest foray into the Asian market to date.
 
This is the latest in a string of related equity sales that began last month, the most notable of which was Facebook’s purchase of 9.99% equity for $5.7 billion. Alongside major investments from Silver Lake Partners and Vista Equity Partners, American companies will now own 13.82% of Jio Platforms.
 
The deal comes amid the coronavirus pandemic, which seemingly presents an opportunity for the acceleration of digitalisation across the subcontinent as businesses are forced to turn to digital solutions for continuity.
 
Ever the disruptive entity, Reliance is banking heavily on their own digital transformation, pushing to become a leading national tech platform to rival the Amazon’s of the world, with offerings ranging from eCommerce to the IoT. Alongside a wealth of new investment, Reliance will seek to leverage their 388 million subscribers to continue to diversify.
 
In fact, it is the size of their customer-base itself that has made them such an attractive partner, according to General Atlantic, who noted that customer acquisition and upscaling is usually too expensive in India to justify investment in its domestic tech industry.
 
“Jio is perfectly positioned to achieve that scale and go after the belly of the market,” said Sandeep Naik, head of India and south-east Asia for General Atlantic.
 
For Reliance itself, this latest investment will go some way towards reducing the company’s $21.4 billion debt. Mukesh Ambani’s company has plans to sell around $7 billion of new shares to reduce this debt, with the goal of being debt free by March 2021.
 
This will likely not be the last investor to jump into bed with the Indian giant, with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund reportedly in discussion for a $1.5 billion slice of Jio’s equity. 
 
 
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