Saudi, US Firms Eye Stakes in Reliance Jio: Report

Two more firms are eyeing a share of Reliance Industries Ltd’s $65-billion digital unit Jio Platforms, according to Bloomberg News, setting them up to be a part of a growing list of firms that have recently invested in the Indian company. US private equity firm General Atlantic is considering investing about $850 million to $950 million in the Mumbai-based company, a Bloomberg report said, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The deal could be completed as soon as this month, though no agreement has been finalized and plans may change, it added.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is also considering to buy a minority stake in Jio, Bloomberg said in a separate report.

General Atlantic declined to comment on the report, while Jio and PIF did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

Hours earlier on Friday, Reliance Industries announced a $1.5 billion (roughly Rs. 150 crores) stake sale in Jio to Vista Equity Partners, the third deal in just over two weeks.

The conglomerate cut a Rs. 43,574 crore deal with Facebook for a 9.99 percent stake in Jio on April 22 and a few days later, it secured a Rs. 5,656 crore investment from private equity firm Silver Lake.

Together the three deals will inject a combined $8 billion (roughly Rs. 800 crores) in the telecoms-to-energy group and help it pare its debt.

Vista’s investment gave Jio an equity value of Rs. 6,500 crores ($65 billion) and an enterprise value of Rs. 5,16,000 crores, said Reliance, controlled by billionaire tycoon Mukesh Ambani.

The potential investments from New York-based General Atlantic and the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, which manages over $300 billion (roughly Rs. 30,000 crores) in assets, would inject money on top of the $8 billion (roughly Rs. 800 crores) which Jio has already raised.

Saudi’s PIF has been buying minority stakes several companies. Last month, it disclosed an 8.2 percent stake in coronavirus-hit Carnival Corp, sending the cruise operator’s shares up nearly 30 percent higher.

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