Reliance Jio has recently announced that the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia is planning to invest USD1.49 billion (113.67 billion rupees) for buying a 2.32 percent stake in the digital platform. Reportedly, after finalizing this deal with Saudi’s sovereign wealth fund, Reliance would have sold nearly 24.7 percent of its digital unit while raising over USD15 billion from investors, which includes prominent companies like Facebook.
Jio Platforms, which includes Jio music and movie apps as well as telecoms venture Jio Infocomm, after this round of investment would be valued at 5.16 trillion rupees.
According to reliable sources, these investment deals in Jio Platforms would help Reliance pay off its net debt of USD21.4 billion by the end of 2020. Reliance, led by Mukesh Ambani, has managed to disrupt India's telecoms industry by releasing its low-cost telecom service, Jio Infocomm in 2016. The platform offered cut-price data and free voice calls.
Speaking on the development, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Governor, PIF, said that the organization believes in the potential that the Indian digital economy harnesses, and that Jio Platform would be a great strategic partner that would give them the opportunity to tap into the market.
As of now, PIF handles over USD 300 billion in assets and has invested in global equities worth USD 7.7 billion within the first quarter of 2020. The organization has a prominent presence in the technology space with multiple stakes in technology companies like Uber Technologies. PIF also has USD45 billion in SoftBank's Vision Fund.
In other news, a group of internet startups and venture capital firms, which includes the South African internet giant Naspers Ventures, have raised concerns over data sharing and misuse with the new Jio-Facebook deal. Reportedly, the group intends to appeal to the anti-trust regulator of India.
Naspers, which has invested in multiple Indian businesses like PayU, Byju’s, Meesho, and Swiggy, believes that the Facebook-Jio deal might competitively affect a few of its portfolio companies.