The wealthiest man in Asia, Mukesh Ambani, has in just one month attracted over $10 billion in investment for his India-headquartered digital platform company, even as most of the world's economy fights to stay afloat from a health crisis that's showing no signs of let-up.
KKR & Co became the newest private equity company to invest in Jio Platforms Ltd., the telecom and digital services holding firm operated by Ambani's Reliance Industries Ltd., the company based in Mumbai disclosed in a statement. The private equity firm will pay 113.7 billion rupees ($1.5 billion) for a 2.3 percent ownership of Jio.
The KKR deal marks the fifth major contract the leading Indian telecom company has sealed in the past few weeks. KKR joins fellow top US companies Facebook, Vista Equity Partners, Silver Lake and General Atlantic that have invested on Jio.
The New York-headquartered KKR, which has issued checks to around 20 tech giants which include GoJek and ByteDance in the last 40 years, gives Reliance Jio Platforms a $65 billion market value.
Social media behemoth Facebook Inc. was the first to make public a $5.7 billion investment in Jio in late April in exchange for almost 10 percent shares. Silver Lake followed with its own $748 million funding, Vista Equity with $1.5 billion, and General Atlantic with $871 million.
With the latest agreement, Jio Platforms will earn a total Rs78,562 crore from the five investments. The Reliance Industries' unit is mostly comprised of businesses under the Reliance Jio Infocomm umbrella, the biggest in the country with over 388 million customers. Reliance's other digital assets and investments like Jio Saavn, Jio Cinema, and Haaptik are all formed under the Jio Platforms.
While global companies like Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc. have likewise invested heavily on India's huge consumer markets, the US business giants have faced obstacles in boosting their models on the internet in India, where tight regulations protect small-sized retail entities.
Ambani is focusing to develop an e-commerce unit that will work around barriers through the recruitment of so-called kirana shops as its business partners.
India has become among the most important global hub for Silicon Valley and Chinese tech firms looking to capture the country's 1.3 billion people in the past years. A large number of India's people remain without a mobile phone and internet connection.
Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Xiaomi, and TikTok-parent company ByteDance have already considered India as one of their most critical overseas market. During the last 10 years, almost 500 million Indians took to the internet for the first time, courtesy of Reliance Jio's mass appeal and influence, whose services have given the group a fan base of 388 million.