Mumbai/New York/Hong Kong: General Atlantic is in talks to invest in Reliance Industries Ltd.’s Jio Platforms, according to people with knowledge of the matter, which would make it the latest in a series of high-profile backers of the $65 billion Indian telecommunications provider.
The private equity firm is considering investing about $850 million to $950 million in the Mumbai-based company, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The deal could be completed as soon as this month, though no agreement has been finalized and plans may change, the people said.
A transaction would add to the $8 billion of investments that Jio has sealed in the past month. Facebook Inc. in April agreed to pay $5.7 billion for a 10% stake in the digital unit, while Silver Lake and Vista Equity Partners said they would invest about $2.25 billion in total in two separate transactions this week.
The string of investments from technology giants and private equity firms will go toward slashing debt at Reliance Industries, which is controlled by Mukesh Ambani, who is Asia’s richest man. The outside money also helps set a valuation for Jio, which until recently has been largely owned by the billionaire’s conglomerate.
Investors are betting on Jio’s access to India’s huge consumer market, and its potential to shake up traditional industries in the country — from retail to education and payments — with its technology.
A representative for Reliance Industries didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment, while General Atlantic declined to comment.
Saudi Arabia’s $320 billion sovereign wealth fund is also considering purchasing a minority stake in Jio, Bloomberg News reported earlier Friday. – Bloomberg