KKR’s $1.5 billion investment brings JIO Platforms valuation to $65 billion

This is an image of JIO billbords in Bandra, Mumbai
Image Source: BloombergQuint

The U.S. equity firm KKR has bought a 2.32% stake in Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Platforms. This is the fifth major deal that the Indian telecom operator has secured in just a few weeks.

On Friday, KKR announced its $1.5 billion investment in Jio Platforms, a subsidiary of India’s most valued firm- Reliance Industries. With the investment, KKR now joins fellow American investors Facebook, Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners and General Atlantic, who have all made investments in last 4 weeks.

The current valuation of Reliance Jio Platforms is an enormous $65 billion.

Reliance Jio, launched in 2016, soon became the most disruptive force in the Indian Telecom space. It offered cut-rate data plans and free voice calls, forcing competitors like Airtel and Vodafone to redo prices. Making sure customers do not leave had become a problem for Jio’s competition. As a result, many companies either unified or left the sector entirely.

The announcement reveals the appeal of Jio Platforms which has sold out almost 17% of its stake to foreign investors who are looking to profit in the world’s second-largest internet market.

In addition to raising $10.35 billion in the last month, Ambani, has poured over $30 billion to build Jio Platforms. Mukesh Ambani, the chairman and managing director of the telecoms-and-oil giant Reliance Industries said that Jio is looking forward to leverage “KKR’s global platform, industry knowledge and operational expertise”, to grow Jio’s business.

India has now emerged as one of the largest global battlegrounds for Chinese and Silicon Valley firms. The battles to win over the country’s 1.3 billion hearts. Unfortunately, most still remain without a smartphone and internet connection.

Among others, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Xiaomi and TikTok-parent company ByteDance, already have India listed as their most important foreign markets. In the past 10 years, almost 500 million Indians connected to the internet for the first time. A large number of that was solely thanks to Reliance Jio which has over 388 million subscribers.

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