Intel chips in with 1894 cr investment in Reliance Jio

Global marquee investors continue to queue up for a pie of Jio platform, the technology arm of Reliance Industries. The latest one being the global chip manufacturer Intel backed, Intel Capital which has invested Rs 1894 crore for a 0.39 per cent stake.

Intel Capital invests in innovations backed companies in disruptive sectors within technology including AI and 5G. Intel Capital joins the list of marquee firms who have recently invested in Jio Platforms, taking the total investment amount in RIL’s digital arm to Rs 1.175 lakh crore.

Mukesh Ambani said, “We are extremely delighted to deepen our ties with technology leaders that embody our vision of transforming India into a leading Digital Society in the world. Intel is a true industry leader, working towards creating world-changing technology and innovations. Intel Capital has an outstanding record of being a valuable partner for leading technology companies globally. We are therefore excited to work together with Intel to advance India’s capabilities in cutting-edge technologies that will empower all sectors of our economy and improve the quality of life of 1.3 billion Indians.” 

“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 live,” said Wendell Brooks, Intel Capital’s president.

The announcement comes after Ambani said last month that a US$1.5 billion injection made by Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund (PIF) to buy a 2.3 per cent stake would mark the “end of Jio Platforms’ current phase of induction of financial partners”.

In April, Facebook, which also holds rights in India to Spanish soccer’s La Liga top flight, kicked off a flurry of investments in Jio, paying US$5.7 billion for a ten per cent stake to become the Reliance subsidiary’s largest minority shareholder.

Among Jio’s other recent major investors are private equity firms KKR, Vista, General Atlantic, TPG, L Catteron, and Silver Lake. Silver Lake, which became Jio’s second major investor in May, paid US$747 million for a one per cent stake in the company. 

Jio Platforms has also received investment from United Arab Emirates (UAE) funds Mubadala and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. Meanwhile, it is also reportedly considering a deal with either Google or Microsoft, with both tech giants vying to purchase a six per cent share in the Reliance arm.

The investments, which equate to 25 per cent of Jio Platforms’ shares, total US$15.5 billion, therefore valuing the company at US$65 billion. 

Jio has more than 370 million subscribers across its various offerings, including its JioTV streaming service. That platform carries live Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) domestic cricket content via a carriage deal with Disney-owned Star India.

Nita Ambani, who also sits on the Reliance board and leads on its sports business interests, including the Indian Premier League (IPL) Mumbai Indians cricket franchise, revealed last year that Jio is planning an expansion of its efforts in the sports rights space. She told the Financial Times (FT) last year that the company was eyeing up digital rights for English top-flight soccer’s Premier League and other high profile properties.