Mumbai/London/Hon Kong: Three of the largest Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds are in advanced talks to invest in Reliance Industries Ltd.’s digital arm, people familiar with the matter said, potentially adding to the roster of marquee investors that have piled into the business.
Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co. is nearing a deal to invest about $1 billion into Jio Platforms Ltd. and an announcement could come as soon as this week, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. Reliance, backed by Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, is also in discussions with Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Saudi Arabia’s The Public Investment Fund, the people said.
Any new investment would add to the $10 billion that Jio Platforms has raised in recent weeks as it starts on early preparations for an overseas listing. High-profile backers from Facebook Inc. to KKR are betting on Jio’s access to India’s massive consumer market, and its potential to shake up traditional industries in the country — from retail to education and payments — with its technology.
The string of investments by technology giants and private equity firms, will go toward Ambani’s stated goal of slashing debt at Reliance Industries. The outside money also helps set a valuation for Jio, which until recently has mainly been owned by the billionaire’s conglomerate, as it prepares for the listing.
The negotiations could still be delayed or fall apart, the people said. ADIA’s interest was previously reported by India’s Economic Times newspaper, which said the latest tranche of investments could be announced as soon as this week, citing unidentified people. Representatives for ADIA, Mubadala, PIF and Reliance declined to comment.
Shares of Reliance have risen 2.4% this year, outperforming the 18% drop in the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex Index. –Bloomberg
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