Reliance in $870 million General Atlantic deal as Jio Platforms funding tops $8 billion

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s Reliance Industries (RELI.NS) on Sunday announced U.S. fund General Atlantic will invest 65.98 billion rupees ($870 million) in Jio Platforms, a fourth deal that takes investment in its digital unit to over $8 billion in less than a month.

FILE PHOTO – The logo of Reliance Industries is pictured in a stall at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Trade Show at Gandhinagar, India, January 17, 2019. REUTERS/Amit Dave

General Atlantic will pick up a 1.34% stake in Jio Platforms which includes movie, music apps as wells telecoms venture Jio Infocomm.

The deal puts Jio Platform’s equity value at 4.91 trillion rupees and gives it an enterprise value of 5.16 trillion, Reliance said in a statement.

Reliance, controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, last month forged a $5.7 billion deal with Facebook for a 9.99% stake in Jio Platforms.

Days later it secured a $750 million investment from private equity firm Silver Lake.

The deals, along with Reliance’s plan to sell $7 billion in new shares, will help the Mumbai-based oil-to-telecoms giant meet its target of eliminating $21.4 billion in net debt this year.

They also underscore the strength of a digital business which Ambani has built over the past four years in an effort to diversify Reliance way from petrochemicals and refining.

Ambani, Asia’s richest man, launched the Jio telecoms venture in late 2016, driving several rivals out of the market and pushing others to consolidate.

He’s often said “data is the new oil”.

He has pitched Jio as a tech company with capabilities to build smart homes, making it a possible rival to Amazon’s Alexa-based solutions, connected cars and security systems.

On Sunday, Reliance Chairman Ambani said: “We are excited to leverage General Atlantic’s proven global expertise and strategic insights across 40 years of technology investing for the benefit of Jio.”

General Atlantic invests in sectors such as technology, financial services and healthcare, including stakes in Airbnb, Alibaba (BABA.N), ByteDance and Facebook.

($1 = 75.8170 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; additional reporting by Abhirup Roy; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Jason Neely

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