Jio Platforms fundraising nears $14 bil. as TPG, L Catterton come on board

15, Jun. 2020

Photo by rupixen.com on Unsplash1
Photo by rupixen.com on Unsplash1

By Atul Ranjan

NEW DELHI, NNA - U.S. private equity firms TPG and L Catterton have joined a growing list of investors going for a slice in Jio Platforms Ltd.

India's leading telecom operator and digital services firm has already struck 10 deals in the last eight weeks to raise over 1 trillion rupees ($13.1billion) as it powers ahead to woo millions of internet users in the country.

Both TPG and L Catterton separately announced investments of 45.46 billion rupees and 18.94 billion rupees, respectively in Jio Platforms on Saturday.

While TPG’s investment will translate into a 0.93 percent stake, L Catterton will hold 0.39 percent share in Jio Platforms which has attracted a slew of global investors including social media giant Facebook Inc., General Atlantic, Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners, and KKR & Co Inc. and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

Collectively, the global investors including TPG and L Catterton now own over 22 percent stake in the Indian firm.

In a statement, Jim Coulter, co-CEO of TPG, said,” We are excited to play an early role in Jio's journey as they continue to transform and advance India's digital economy."

"Jio is a disruptive industry leader that is empowering small businesses and consumers across India by providing them with critical, high-quality digital services,” he added.

TPG said it would use its TPG Capital Asia, TPG Growth, and TPG Tech Adjacencies (TTAD) funds to make the investment. The firm has invested in global technology firms such as Airbnb Inc., Uber Technologies Inc., and Spotify Technology S.A.

Meanwhile, Michael Chu, global co-CEO of L Catterton, said his firm will leverage its expertise in creating consumer-centric businesses to help Jio Platforms build its digital services as it reaches out to millions of users.

Over the past 30 years, L Catterton has carved out a reputation as an investor that has built many top international brands across all consumer categories, from retail to digital, Chu said in a statement.

As one of the world’s largest consumer focused private equity firms, L Catterton has helped develop innovative brands at the forefront of the evolving consumer landscape such as Peloton, Vroom, ClassPass, Owndays and FabIndia.

Tarun Pathak, an associate director for India office of research firm Counterpoint Research, said the procession of investors shows their tremendous faith in Jio Platforms as it capitalizes on India’s booming digital market. It offers huge growth opportunities as only 50 percent of the population are currently connected to the internet.

The firm, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the country’s oil-to-retail-to-telecom behemoth Reliance Industries Ltd., has revolutionized India's telecom market by making voice calls free for customers across India to any network. Apart from making data attractively affordable, it is expanding digital services and e-commerce.

Jio Platform's partnership with Facebook, which holds 9.9 percent stake in the firm, will give over 388 million users the convenience of buying goods and services on the popular WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger apps.