The Great Indian Deal
Facebook bought a 9.9% stake in Mukesh Ambani’s telecom company Reliance Jio. This investment of $5.7 billion (₹43,574 crores) values Jio at $65.95 billion (₹4.62 lakh crores). This places Jio amongst the top 5 listed companies in terms of market capitalization in only 3.5 years of commercial launch. This deal is also the largest investment by a tech company for buying a minority stake in another company. It is also the largest FDI in India’s tech sector.
What’s in for the consumer?
The deal turns Jio from a telecom company to a digital giant. A single digital platform that can do the following can come out of the joint effort of FB and JIO:
Creating, editing videos
Filing tax returns
Money transfer and much more
One focus of our 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.Facebook
What’s in it for Facebook?
Facebook has a huge market in India. It has:
a) Facebook users: 260 mn users – highest in the world
b) WhatsApp users: 400 mn users – highest in the world
c) Instagram users: 80 mn users – second highest in the world
Facebook is eyeing India’s huge market which is growing at a fast rate. It is looking to benefit from the 400 mn user base of Jio entrenched till the last Indian. In 2016, TRAI shut down Facebook’s Free Basics plan of providing internet. Facebook’s WhatsApp payment service will soon be launched in India and is expected to compete with Google Pay, PayTM, PhonePay, Amazon Pay, etc. The tech giant is likely to drive unprecedented growth through the Indian market.
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What’s in it for Jio?
Mukesh Ambani announced to make Reliance debt-free by March 2021 and this deal could help in deleveraging India’s one of the largest conglomerates Reliance Industries. It had ₹1.5 lakh crores of debt as on the financial year ending March 2019. RIL already in talks with Saudi Aramco to sell a 20% stake of the oil-to-chemical division of RIL. Ambani is also in talks with Canadian private equity firm Brookfield Asset Management for selling a stake of telecom towers. In 2019, Jio joined hands with Microsoft for the development of data centers in India with the help of the Azure cloud.
All of us at Reliance are 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.Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, RIL