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Abu Dhabi Sovereign Fund to Invest $1.2 Billion in Jio Platforms

Stock MarketsJun 04, 2020 06:54PM ET
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© Bloomberg. The logo of Reliance Jio, the mobile network of Reliance Industries Ltd., is displayed inside a store in Mumbai, India, on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. Reliance Industries, India's biggest company by market value, posted a 13.5% jump in quarterly net income as growth in telecom and retail business helped outweigh a slump in petrochemical operations. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co. will invest $1.2 billion in Reliance Industries Ltd.’s digital arm, adding to the roster of marquee investors that have piled into the business.

The deal values Reliance’s Jio Platforms Ltd. at an equity value of $65 billion, giving the Abu Dhabi sovereign investment company a stake of 1.85%, according to a statement. Reliance, backed by Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, is also in discussions with Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg on Wednesday.

The deal adds to the $10 billion that Jio Platforms has raised in recent weeks as it starts early preparations for an overseas stock listing. High-profile backers from Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). to KKR are betting on Jio’s access to India’s 1.35 billion people and its potential to shake up traditional industries in the country -- including retail, education and payments -- with its technology.

Read more: Mukesh Ambani Won the World’s Most Expensive Sibling Rivalry

The string of investments by technology giants and other investors will go toward Ambani’s stated goal of slashing debt at Reliance Industries. The outside money also helps set a valuation for Jio, which until recently had mainly been owned by the billionaire’s conglomerate, as it prepares for the listing. The deal gives Jio an enterprise value of $68 billion.

Facebook invested $5.7 billion in Jio in April -- a deal that gave the social media company a roughly 10% stake in the Indian business. Facebook is looking to build a commerce business for its WhatsApp messaging service and was eager to work with Jio to take advantage of the company’s JioMart ecommerce platform and its relationship with India merchants. Facebook has a massive presence in India, with more than 400 million WhatsApp users alone, and the two sides had worked together previously when Facebook built a version of its WhatsApp messaging product for a Jio phone in 2018.

Mubadala, which has offices outside Abu Dhabi in San Francisco, New York, Moscow and elsewhere, made a $15 billion commitment to the SoftBank Vision Fund and launched a number of tech funds in the U.S., Europe and its home base. The fund, which has $229 billion in assets, has also been divesting some of its technology and other assets to redeploy proceeds to new investments. Last year, it sold 34.9 million shares in Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) Inc. In March, Mubadala helped lead a $2.25 billion investment in Waymo, Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Inc.’s self-driving car unit.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Abu Dhabi Sovereign Fund to Invest $1.2 Billion in Jio Platforms

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