Reliance Industries, Jio Platforms and Facebook on Wednesday announced the signing of an agreement for an investment of Rs 43,574 crore (US$5.7 billion) by Facebook into Jio Platforms. The investment from Facebook into Jio Platforms will translate to a 9.99% equity stake. Jio Platforms, a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance provides digital services and currently connects over 388 million subscribers through its Reliance Jio platform. In a release, it was highlighted that the investment by Facebook “is the largest investment for a minority stake by a technology company anywhere in the world.” Further, the investment is said to be the largest foreign direct investment(FDI) in the technology sector in India.
While the transaction is subjected to regulatory and other customary approvals, the investment values Jio Platforms amongst the top five listed companies in India by market capitalization. Further, Reliance said that the feat was achieved within three and half years of launch of commercial services.
“All of us at Reliance are therefore humbled by the opportunity to welcome Facebook as our long-term partner in continuing to grow and transform the digital ecosystem of India for the benefit of all Indians,” Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, said in the release. “The synergy between Jio and Facebook will help realise Prime Minister Shri 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.”
It was also announced that Jio Platforms, Reliance Retail and WhatsApp have entered into a commercial partnership to further accelerate the Reliance Retail’s new commerce business on the JioMart platform using WhatsApp. The partnership intends to support small businesses on WhatsApp with the companies said to work closely to ensure consumers can access services of the small kiranas by transacting seamlessly with JioMart using WhatsApp.
In a separate release, Facebook said that its focus on the collaboration with Reliance Jio would be for creating new paths for people and for “businesses to operate more effectively in the growing digital economy.”
The company highlighted that its goal is to enable new pathways for businesses of all sizes but with special focus on the 60 million small businesses across India.
“They account for the majority of jobs in the country, and form the heart and soul of rural and urban communities alike,” Facebook said in the release. “In the face of the coronavirus, it is important that we both combat this global pandemic now, and lay the groundwork to help people and businesses in the years to come.”