The ongoing discussion ( JIO and Facebook) before COVID, now it becomes the reality of Reliance Industries (RIL) revealed that Facebook will pick up 9.99 percent equity stake in Jio Platforms for USD 5.7 billion or Rs 43,574 crore. It is the initial multibillion-dollar deal from Facebook in the Jio Platforms .
In a statement, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said, “Today, we are announcing a USD 5.7 billion, or Rs 43,574 crore, investment in Jio Platforms Limited, part of Reliance Industries Limited, making Facebook its largest minority shareholder.”
He further 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,” Mark Zuckerberg added.
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. The deal was important at this time as the small businesses need the support. Mark Zuckerberg said.
The proposed investment by Facebook values Jio Platforms at Rs 4.62 lakh crore or ($65.95 billion) pre-money enterprise value. Jio is a technology company building a digital society for India by bringing together Jio’s digital apps, digital ecosystems and connectivity platform under one umbrella.
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.
The focus of Reliance Industries’ digital business will be on India’s 60 million micro, small and medium businesses, 120 million farmers, 30 million small merchants and millions of small and medium enterprises in the informal sector, in addition to mobile phone customers in India.
Facebook aims to generate more engagements with Indians on WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram platforms. Jio Platforms, Reliance Retail and WhatsApp have also entered into a partnership agreement to accelerate Reliance Retail’s New Commerce business on the JioMart platform using WhatsApp and to support small businesses on WhatsApp.
The companies will work to ensure that consumers are able to access the nearest kiranas who can provide products and services to their homes by transacting seamlessly with JioMart using WhatsApp.In a Facebook post, Mark Zuckerberg said one focus of the 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.
Morgan Stanley as financial advisor and AZB & Partners and Davis Polk & Wardwell as counsels advised on the transaction. This deal will help reduce RIL’s debt burden, which bulged due to the breakneck expansion of Jio and other businesses.
There was ongoing discussion on WhatsApp, Facebook stumbled with its Free Basics plan to provide free internet services after a ban by the telecom regulator TRAI. Seems it now has an established partnership with Reliance Industries ,whose strong rural network on its side that is present in sectors ranging from telecom to ecommerce to home internet.