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General Atlantic becomes fourth giant investor in Reliance’s Jio

General Atlantic is to acquire an $870m stake in Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Platforms, following an investment from Facebook last month

General Atlantic is to acquire an $870m (€790m, £704m) stake in Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Platforms, expanding a run of investments by top US investors into the Indian digital company.

The New York-based private equity firm will take a 1.3 per cent stake in four-year-old Jio, part of Ambani’s sprawling Reliance Industries conglomerate, valuing the entity at $65bn. The deal is General Atlantic’s largest in Asia to date.

General Atlantic becomes Jio’s fourth American investor in several weeks after earlier this month, US private equity firms Vista Equity Partners and Silver Lake announced their own investments into Jio, at $1.5bn and $750m respectively.  

Last month, Facebook also announced its $5.7bn stake in Jio making it its largest single investment in another company aside from its acquisitions.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Ambani - India’s richest man - has plans to transform Jio into a homegrown tech giant by taking on global investors and cutting debt. 

Reliance, whose main businesses are in oil refining and petrochemicals, launched the telecom operator in 2016 using cheap 4G data plans and incentives to gain market share. It now has 388 million subscribers and online services such as broadband and e-commerce.

Jio, which plans to list publicly within five years, offers global investors a route into the fast-growing Indian market, where hundreds of millions are going online for the first time.

The pandemic and a collapse in demand for oil and refined products have increased pressure on Ambani to reduce the debt burden his conglomerate took on to nurture Jio. Reliance has vowed to cut its net debt of $20bn down to zero in a year. 

Mukesh’s son Akash Ambani, a director at Jio, said: “General Atlantic’s endorsement and partnership energises Jio’s young team to set, and achieve, even more ambitious goals in our onward march.”

FURTHER READING: Facebook acquires $5.7bn stake in India’s Reliance Jio

FURTHER READING: Asia's richest man takes on Amazon with new delivery service

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