Facebook has bought a 9.9% stake in Reliance Jio for $5.7 billion (Rs 43,574 crore), the telecom unit of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) in a multibillion-dollar deal that gives the social media giant a firm foothold in a fast-growing massive market and helps the Indian oil-to-telecom conglomerate to significantly cut debt.
The deal values Jio at $65.95 billion.
Jio said, "The partnership between Facebook and Jio is unprecedented in many ways. 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 investment values Jio Platforms amongst the top 5 listed companies in India by market capitalization, within just three and a half years of launch of commercial services, validating Reliance Industries’ capability in incubating and building disruptive next-generation businesses, while delivering market defining shareholder value."
Facebook said, "This investment underscores our commitment to India, and our excitement for the dramatic transformation that Jio has spurred in the country. In less than four years, Jio has brought more than 388 million people online, fueling the creation of innovative new enterprises and connecting people in new ways. We are committed to connecting more people in India together with Jio."
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Mark Zuckerberg, in a statement, said:
There's a lot going on in the world right now, but I wanted to share an update on our work in India. Facebook is teaming up with Jio Platforms -- we're making a financial investment, and more than that, we're committing to work together on some major projects that will open up commerce opportunities for people across India.
India is home to the largest communities on Facebook and WhatsApp, and a lot of talented entrepreneurs. The country is in the middle of a major digital transformation and organizations like Jio have played a big part in getting hundreds of millions of Indian people and small businesses online.
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This is especially important right now, because small businesses are the core of every economy and they need our support. India has more than 60 million small businesses and millions of people rely on them for jobs. With communities around the world in lockdown, many of these entrepreneurs need digital tools they can rely on to find and communicate with customers and grow their businesses. This is something we can help with -- and that's why we're partnering with Jio to help people and businesses in India create new opportunities.
I want to thank Mukesh Ambani and the entire Jio team for their partnership. We're looking forward to getting started.
Catch our entire coverage on the Facebook-Jio Deal here.
Disclaimer: Reliance Industries Ltd., which also owns Jio, is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd.