Silver Lake to invest $747M in India’s Jio Platforms – TechCrunch

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Weeks after Facebook invested $5.7 billion in Jio Platforms, India’s top telecom operator, private equity firm Silver Lake is following suit.

Silver Lake announced on Monday it will be investing 56.56 billion Indian rupees (about $746.8 million) in the top Indian telecom operator Jio Platforms for about 1.15% stake in the Indian firm, giving it a valuation of $65 billion, a 12.5% premium to the value implied by the Facebook investment.

The Menlo Park-headquartered PE firm, which has approximately $40 billion in combined assets and committed capital, has invested in dozens of tech firms over the years including video game engine maker Unity, Skype, consultancy firm Gartner, Alibaba’s Ant Financial, and Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, several of it in recent weeks. This year, Silver Lake has invested in Expedia, Twitter (in which it invested $1 billion), Airbnb, Waymo, and ServiceMax.

Reliance Jio Platforms, which began its commercial operation in the second half of 2016, upended the local telecom market by offering bulk of 4G data and voice calls for six months to users at no charge. Jio Platforms, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries (India’s most valuable firm by market value), has amassed 388 million subscribers in the period, becoming the nation’s top telecom operator.

“Jio Platforms is one of the world’s most remarkable companies, led by an incredibly strong and entrepreneurial management team who are driving and actualizing a courageous vision. They have brought extraordinary engineering capabilities to bear on bringing the power of low-cost digital services to a mass consumer and small businesses population. The market potential they are addressing is enormous, and we are honored and pleased to have been invited to partner with Mukesh Ambani and the team at Reliance and Jio to help further the Jio mission,” said Egon Durban, co-chief executive and managing partner at Silver Lake, in a statement.

In a statement, Mukesh Ambani, who oversees Reliance Industries, said, “Silver Lake has an outstanding record of being a valuable partner for leading technology companies globally. Silver Lake is one of the most respected voices in technology and finance. We are excited to leverage insights from their global technology relationships for the Indian Digital Society’s transformation.”

In the company’s earnings call last week, Ambani said several firms had expressed interest in buying a stake in Jio Platforms in wake of deal with Facebook.

Facebook said that other than offering the capital to Jio Platforms for a 9.99% stake in the firm, it would work with the Indian giant on a number of areas starting with e-commerce.

JioMart, an e-commerce venture run by India’s most valued firm, began testing an “ordering system” on WhatsApp last month. WhatsApp is the most popular smartphone app in India with over 400 million active users in the world’s second largest internet market.

More to follow…



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