Intel to Invest $255 Million in Reliance’s Jio Platforms
Intel Corp’s investment arm will pay some $255 million for a small stake in Reliance Industries Ltd’s digital unit Jio Platforms, the latest in a slew of share sales that have helped the Indian conglomerate pay down debt.
Reliance has now sold just over a quarter of Jio Platforms, the unit that houses its telecoms venture Jio Infocomm and its music and movie apps, raising $15.8 billion from investors including Facebook Inc and KKR & Co.
The deals highlight Jio Platforms’ potential to become the dominant player in India’s digital economy.
The telecoms unit has already decimated several rivals with cut-throat pricing, while Reliance is also using Jio Platforms’ technology in its new e-commerce venture that seeks to rival Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart. Jio Platforms is also working on connected cars, security systems and smart homes.
The sale of the 0.39% stake for 18.95 billion rupees gives Jio Platforms an enterprise value of 5.16 trillion rupees ($69 billion), Reliance said in a statement.
Mr. Wendell Brooks, Intel Capital President, said, “Jio Platforms’ focus on applying its impressive engineering capabilities to bring the power of low-cost digital services to India aligns with Intel’s purpose of delivering breakthrough technology that enriches lives. We believe digital access and data can transform business and society for the better. Through this investment, we are excited to help fuel digital transformation in India, where Intel maintains an important presence.”
The deals and a $7 billion share sale have helped Reliance become net-debt free, the company said last month. It had previously planned to rid itself of net debt of just over $21 billion by the year end.
The oil-to-retail conglomerate, controlled by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, plans to wrap up most of its private fundraising for Jio Platforms by the third quarter of 2020 and then explore a potential public listing in the United States in 2021, a source familiar with matter has said.
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