Facebook Invests Rs. 43,574 Crore in Reliance Jio, Becomes Largest Minority Shareholder

Photo Courtesy: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Amid such a difficult situation due to the coronavirus crisis in India, Facebook and Reliance have joined hands together to take Indian business to a greater height using digital media. Social media giant Facebook, on Wednesday, announced its partnership with the Indian telecom giant Reliance Jio to invest Rs. 43,574 crore or $5.7 billion in Jio Platforms, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited, making it the biggest minority shareholder in Reliance Jio.

The deal gives Facebook a 9.99 percent equity stake in Jio Platforms at a pre-money valuation of Rs. 4.62 lakh crore after months of discussion about the investment. Facebook’s investment put the value of Jio Platforms at Rs. 4.62 lakh crore pre-money enterprise value ($65.95 billion, at a conversion rate of Rs 70 to a Dollar).

Needless to say, this is the third largest foreign direct investment (FDI) by Facebook for minority investment in the technology sector in India. With this investment, Reliance Jio becomes the most valued organization among the top five listed companies in India by market capitalization.

Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio, the telecoms unit of Reliance Industries is a high speed connectivity platform that works on leading digital apps, digital ecosystems, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented and Mixed Reality and the mobile service for every Indians to get in touch with Jio Digital Life.

According to Jio, the new collaboration between these two digital platforms should bring transformation in the Indian businesses, especially micro-businesses, small merchants, and farmers. On the other hand, it gives Facebook a major space in the Indian lucrative market, where its another messaging app service, WhatsApp has almost 400 million users and is about to launch a new payment service, WhatsApp Pay.

Not only this, the American social media giant also confirmed that it is planning to focus on the partnership between Reliance Jio’s grocery delivery business JioMart and WhatsApp to enable more people to connect with shops, businesses, and purchase products.

Commenting on the partnership with Reliance Jio, Facebook’s Chief Revenue Officer David Fischer and VP and Managing Director, India, Ajit Mohan said, “This investment underscores our commitment to India, and our excitement for the dramatic transformation that Jio has spurred in the country. In less than four years, Jio has brought more than 388 million people online, fueling the creation of innovative new enterprises and connecting people in new ways. We are committed to connecting more people in India together with Jio.”

“Facebook is teaming up with Jio Platforms – we’re making a financial investment, and more than that, we’re committing to work together on some major projects that will open up commerce opportunities for people across India,” Mr Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page.

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Since its launch in 2016 Reliance Jio has brought more than 388 million people under one digital umbrella, giving most of the Indian access to the internet.  That massive use of digital technologies accelerates India’s all-round development in terms of Indian economy, small businesses and other needs of Indian people.

“The synergy between Jio and Facebook will help realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ Mission with its two ambitious goals — ‘Ease of Living’ and ‘Ease of Doing Business’ – for every single category of Indian people without exception. In the post-Corona era, I am confident of India’s economic recovery and resurgence in the shortest period of time. The partnership will surely make an important contribution to this transformation,” Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries Ltd, said in a statement.

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