Reliance Industries on Friday announced the sale of a 2.32 per cent stake in its digital unit to US private equity giant KKR for Rs 113.67 billion ($1.5 billion), the fifth deal in four weeks that will inject a combined Rs 785.62 billion in the oil-to-telecom conglomerate to help it pare debt.
This is KKR’s largest investment in Asia.
“This transaction values Jio Platforms at an equity value of Rs 4.91 trillion and an enterprise value of Rs 5.16 trillion. This is KKR’s largest investment in Asia and will translate into a 2.32 per cent equity stake in Jio Platforms on a fully diluted basis,” the company said in a statement.
The deal follows Facebook picking up a 9.99 per cent stake in the firm, housing India’s youngest but largest telecom company, on April 22 for Rs 435.74 billion.
Within days of that deal, Silver Lake – the world’s largest tech investor – bought a 1.15 per cent stake in Jio Platforms for Rs 56.66 billion.
On May 8, US-based Vista Equity Partners bought 2.32 per cent stake in Jio Platforms for Rs 113.67 billion.
On May 17 global equity firm General Atlantic picked up 1.34 per cent stake in Jio Platforms for Rs 66 billion.
“Over the last month, leading technology investors, such as, Facebook, Silver Lake, Vista, General Atlantic and KKR have announced aggregate investments of Rs 785.62 billion into Jio Platforms,” it said.
Founded in 1976, KKR has a long history of building leading global enterprises and successfully investing in businesses in the technology sector, including BMC Software, ByteDance and GoJek, through its private equity and technology growth funds.
Since inception, the firm has invested over $30 billion (total enterprise value) in tech companies, and its technology portfolio currently has more than 20 companies across the technology, media and telecom sectors.
In addition, India has been a key strategic market for KKR with a history of investing in the country since 2006.
Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, said: “I am delighted to welcome KKR, one of the world’s most respected financial investors, as a valued partner in our onward march to growing and transforming the Indian digital ecosystem for the benefit of all Indians.”
KKR, he said, has a proven track record of being a valuable partner to industry-leading franchises and has been committed to India for many years.
“We are looking forward to leveraging KKR’s global platform, industry knowledge and operational expertise to further grow Jio.”
Henry Kravis, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of KKR, said: “Few companies have the potential to transform a country’s digital ecosystem in the way that Jio Platforms is doing in India, and potentially worldwide. Jio Platforms is a true homegrown next generation technology leader in India that is unmatched in its ability to deliver technology solutions and services to a country that is experiencing a digital revolution.”
“We are investing behind Jio Platforms’ impressive momentum, world-class innovation and strong leadership team, and we view this landmark investment as a strong indicator of KKR’s commitment to supporting leading technology companies in India and Asia Pacific,” he said.
The transaction is subject to regulatory and other customary approvals.