Facebook acquired a 9.99 per cent stake in Reliance Jio Platforms for INR435.7 billion ($5.7 billion), making the social media giant the largest minority shareholder in the Indian company.
Jio Platforms is the tech subsidiary of multinational conglomerate Reliance Industries. Jio Platforms operates broadband and online commerce services, including Reliance Jio, India’s largest mobile operator with 388 million subscribers.
The deal is Facebook’s largest overseas investment and gives it the opportunity to bring its services into closer partnership with one of India’s biggest telecom operators.
The operator also noted this is the largest investment for a minority stake by a technology company anywhere in the world and the largest foreign direct investment in the technology sector in India, valuing Jio Platforms among the top-five listed companies in India by market capitalisation, within three and a half years of launching commercial services.
In a statement, Facebook chief revenue officer David Fischer and MD of Facebook India Ajit Mohan said the investment underscores its commitment to India and its collaboration with Jio will focus on “creating new ways for people and businesses to operate more effectively in the growing digital economy”.
For example, they said by bringing together JioMart, Jio’s small business initiative, with Facebook-owned WhatsApp, “we can enable people to connect with businesses, shop and ultimately purchase products in a seamless mobile experience.”
Reliance Jio said the goal of the investment is to enable new opportunities for businesses of all sizes, “especially for small businesses across India and create new and exciting digital ecosystems”.
In a separate statement, Facebook said the deal underscores its commitment to India. India is the biggest market for Facebook with 328 million monthly users and the company’s WhatsApp messaging app has 400 million users in the country, also the most in the world.
“This is especially important right now, because small businesses are the core of every economy and they need our support. India has more than 60 million small businesses and millions of people rely on them for jobs,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.
In a statement, Mukesh Ambani, chairman and MD of Reliance Industries said: “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.”Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back