After Facebook and Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners invests $1.5 bil. in Jio Platforms

08, May. 2020

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NEW DELHI, NNA- India’s digital firm Jio Platforms Ltd. has bagged its third significant investment within a few weeks - this time from U.S. investment firm Vista Equity Partners Management LLC which is pumping in 113.67 billion rupees ($1.5 billion).

Announced on Friday, the deal quickly follows that of Silver Lake whose $750 million purchase for a 1.14 percent stake was made known on May 4.

Silver Lake has now become a significant investor in the digital technology subsidiary of the huge Reliance Industries Ltd.(RIL), after Vista Equity Partners whose 2.32 percent stake makes it the third largest.

Parent company RIL remains the biggest investor in Jio Platforms with Facebook in second place after the social media giant snapped up a whopping 9.99 percent stake worth $5.7 billion on April 22.

The sizeable cash injections into Jio Platforms, now a predominantly telecommunications company, would allow it to focus on big growth areas such as e-commerce and services as it embarks on an aggressive expansion to tap into India's enormous market.

Already offering an array of telecom and digital services at low prices to millions of users, it also aims to connect millions of small merchants, micro-businesses and farmers with consumers on its platforms.

Following on the heels of global tech giants and investors pouring billions into India's booming internet market in recent times, Robert F. Smith, the founder, chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, said in a statement, “We are thrilled to join Jio Platforms to deliver exponential growth in connectivity across India, providing modern consumer, small business and enterprise software to fuel the future of one of the world’s fastest growing digital economies.”

In a statement, Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of RIL, said its partners in recent deals and Vista share the same vision of growing and transforming the country's digital ecosystem for the benefit of all Indians.

“We are excited to leverage the professional expertise and multi-level support that Vista has been offering to its investments globally for the benefit of Jio,” he said.

Tarun Pathak, an associate director for India office of research firm Counterpoint Research, told NNA on Friday, “This is the third big investment into Jio Platforms in less than three weeks. I think a lot of attention has been brought in by the massive Jio-Facebook deal.”

Pathak believes the significant investments received by Jio Platforms would provide the big push for increasing its digital services including apps as it looks to expand its reach in the country where hundreds of millions still do not have internet access.

“Some of the apps especially in gaming, healthcare and payments have a lot of room to grow. I won't be surprised if Jio now invests in other app companies to bring them under its umbrella,” he said.

India has witnessed a rapid adoption of digital technologies with more than 560 million people gaining internet access in just the last five years.

A 2019 Digital India report by McKinsey Global Institute has projected the number of internet users in India to hit around 800 million and the number of smartphones to double to around 700 million by 2023.