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Qualcomm-Jio deal: 5G wireless tech company to invest Rs 730 crore in RIL unit

Qualcomm becomes third technology investor in Jio Platforms, the Reliance Industries digital unit that runs the telecom enterprise Jio Infocomm as well as several apps, after Facebook and Intel.

July 13, 2020 / 09:48 PM IST

Qualcomm Inc will invest Rs 730 crore in Jio Platforms in exchange for a 0.15 percent stake, joining a pack of big-ticket investors that have grabbed a piece of the digital unit of Reliance Industries (RIL).

Qualcomm, one of the world’s top wireless technology companies, is the third technology investor in Jio after Facebook Inc and American semiconductor giant Intel. The RIL unit runs the telecom enterprise Jio Infocomm, India’s biggest, as well as movie, news and music apps.

The deal with Qualcomm—the 13th such investment in 12 weeks—takes the total stake that Reliance sold in Jio Platforms to 25.24 percent.  Mumbai-based RIL has now raised a combined Rs 118,318.45 crore from some of the world’s leading tech investors in the largest fundraising exercise by a company anywhere in the world and during a global lockdown at that.

Facebook led the investments in Jio by buying a 9.99 percent stake for Rs 43,574 crore on April 22.  The oil-to-telecom conglomerate has since sold stakes in Jio to global investors such as General Atlantic, KKR, Saudi sovereign wealth fund, Abu Dhabi state fund, Saudi Arabia’s PIF and Intel.

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Qualcomm has invested in Jio through its investment arm Qualcomm Ventures. The investment comes at an equity valuation of Rs 4.91 lakh crore and enterprise valuation of Rs 5.16 lakh crore.

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, said, “Today, I am delighted to welcome Qualcomm Ventures as an investor in Jio Platforms. Qualcomm has been a valued partner for several years and we have a shared vision of connecting everything by building a robust and secure wireless and digital network and extending the benefits of digital connectivity to everyone in India."

"As a world leader in wireless technologies, Qualcomm offers deep technology knowhow and insights that will help us deliver on our 5G vision and the digital transformation of India for both people and enterprises,” he added.

Qualcomm, which holds several patents and leads patent filings in India, describes itself as the world’s leading wireless technology innovator and the driving force behind the development, launch, and expansion of 5G.

The company is focussed on the development, launch and expansion of technologies like fifth-generation (5G) and offers technologies and products that are used in mobile devices and other wireless products, including network equipment, broadband gateway equipment, consumer electronic devices and other connected devices. Qualcomm’s technologies and products are also used in segments and applications beyond mobile such as Internet of Things (IoT), automotive, computing, and networking, among other industries.

“With our shared goal of extending the benefits of digital connectivity to everyone and everything, we anticipate Jio Platforms will deliver a new set of services and experiences to Indian consumers. With unmatched speeds and emerging use cases, 5G is expected to transform every industry in the coming years," said Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm Incorporated.

"Jio Platforms has led the digital revolution in India through its extensive digital and technological capabilities. As an enabler and investor with a longstanding presence in India, we look forward to playing a role in Jio's vision to further revolutionise India’s digital economy,” Mollenkopf noted.

The transaction is subject to regulatory and other customary approvals.

Disclosure: Reliance Industries Ltd. is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd.

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first published: Jul 12, 2020 08:25 pm