Alphabet’s Google is in advanced talks to invest $4 billion (roughly Rs. 30,140 crores) for a stake in the digital arm of Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The report comes a day after Google said it would spend around $10 billion (roughly Rs. 75,000 crores) in India over the next five to seven years through equity investments and tie-ups, in its biggest commitment to a key growth market.
Investors, including Facebook and KKR, have already poured in a combined $15.64 billion (roughly Rs. 1.17 lakh crores) for just over 25 percent in Jio Platforms. The funding spree, which began late April, and a share sale by Reliance have helped make India’s biggest company net-debt free.
Reliance Industries said on Sunday Qualcomm’s investment arm will buy a 0.15 percent stake in its digital unit Jio Platforms for Rs. 730 crores ($97.1 million). The partnership will help Jio Platforms, the unit that houses Reliance’s telecoms venture Jio Infocomm, to “roll out advanced 5G infrastructure and services for Indian customers”, Reliance said in a statement.
Qualcomm’s move comes at a time India is preparing to auction 5G airwaves to telecoms service providers. With this new investment, Reliance has sold a 25.2 percent stake in Jio Platforms to investors in a funding spree that began late April, raising $15.69 billion (roughly Rs. 1.17 lakh crores).
Although Jio Platforms also comprises Reliance’s music and movie apps, Jio Infocomm – the mobile carrier – is its centrepiece.
Reliance chairman and billionaire tycoon Mukesh Ambani has always pitched Jio Infocomm as a tech company instead of a traditional telecoms firm.
That has helped Ambani win the backing of major tech firms such as Facebook, Intel, and now Qualcomm.
© Thomson Reuters 2020
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