In less than two months, Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani has raised more than $15 billion in investments to boost his technological ambitions, from Facebook and leading Silicon Valley investors Silver Lake and TPG.
It has now attracted a new powerful investor with a deep pocket: Saudi Arabia. The Public Investment Fund (PIF) will pay $1.5 billion for a 2.3 percent stake in Jio Platforms, the digital technology arm of Ambani’s broader conglomerate Reliance Industries.
The deal was concluded yesterday, and it is estimated that the value of the “Jio Platforms” platform is around 68 billion dollars.
It is the tenth major investment in Ambani’s branch since April, when Facebook invested $5.7 billion, thus concluding one of the largest contracts in its business. In fact, the deal is a ticket to operate in India’s growing internet market, where the US giant will have a key foothold.
The social networking company has hundreds of millions of users in India and has already invested huge sums in its own growth, but has encountered a number of regulatory hurdles in recent years. Thanks to close fundraising and the recent sale of shares worth $7 billion, Reliance Industries said it is now debt-free.
Its net debt at the end of March was 1.61 trillion rupees ($21 billion).
Ambani, India’s richest man, launched “Jio” as a telecommunications network in late 2016, which has since had 388 million subscribers. This company offers customers almost all services: from online shopping, through instant payments to video streaming.
Analysts say Ambania’s ultimate ambition is to build another global technology company, which can match Google, Amazon and Alibaba. The support of Saudi Arabi will certainly be vital for the realization of that ambition since this country already has several investments in giants such as Uber and Tesla.