Reliance Jio, the telecom unit of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), has sold a 9.99 per cent stake to US tech giant Facebook for $5.7 billion, or Rs 43,574 crore, in a deal that puts the pre-money enterpise value of Jio Platforms at Rs 4.62 lakh crore.
The multibillion-dollar deal will make Facebook the largest minority shareholder in Jio Platforms Limited. Calling the partnership unprecedented in many ways, RIL said this is the largest investment for a minority stake by a technology company anywhere in the world and the largest FDI in the technology sector in India.
The partnership will help RIL reduce its debt burden while it will help Facebook get a firm foothold in a fast-growing and massive market. The social media giant said it would focus on collaborating its messaging platform WhatsApp with Reliance’s e-commerce venture JioMart to enable people to connect with small businesses.Commenting on the partnership with Facebook, RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani said, “When Reliance launched Jio in 2016, we were driven by the dream of INDIA’S DIGITAL SARVODAYA – India’s Inclusive Digital Rise to improve the quality of life of every single Indian and to propel India as the world’s leading Digital Society. 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.”
“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. In the post-Corona era, I am confident of India’s economic recovery and resurgence in the shortest period of time. The partnership will surely make an important contribution to this transformation,” he added.
In a Facebook post, Mark Zuckerberg said one focus of the collaboration with Jio will be creating new ways for people and businesses to operate more effectively in the growing digital economy. “For instance, by bringing together JioMart, Jio’s small business initiative, with the power of WhatsApp, we can enable people to connect with businesses, shop and ultimately purchase products in a seamless mobile experience.”
Jio Platforms, Reliance Retail Limited and WhatsApp have also entered into a commercial partnership agreement to further accelerate Reliance Retail’s new commerce business on the JioMart platform using WhatsApp and to support small businesses on WhatsApp, the two companies have announced.
“Reliance Retail’s New Commerce platform, JioMart, is being built in partnership with millions of small merchants and kirana shops to empower them to better serve the needs of Indian consumers. The companies will work closely to ensure that consumers are able to access the nearest kiranas who can provide products and services to their homes by transacting seamlessly with JioMart using WhatsApp,” said a statement issued by Reliance Jio on Wednesday.