Intel Capital buys small stake in India’s Jio Platforms

04, Jul. 2020

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NEW DELHI, NNA - The investment arm of global semiconductor maker Intel Corp. will buy a 0.39 percent stake in Reliance Industries Ltd.'s digital unit Jio Platforms Ltd. for 18.94 billion rupees ($254 million).

The phenomenal interest in India's rising tech star from global investors has seen back-to-back deals since April, which now brings the fundraising to 1,175.88 billion rupees.

Intel Capital is coming onboard for a slice of the telecom and digital firm after Reliance Industries (RIL) managed to raise enough money from these investors and $7 billion from a share sale within 58 days to become debt free recently.

Jio Platforms, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the oil-to-retail-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries, has now sold over 25 percent stake to a slew of high-profile investors including Facebook Inc., Saudi Arabia's PIF, Vista Equity, KKR, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Investment Co. since April 22.

The investments by this marquee group, which also includes General Atlantic, ADIA, global private investment firm TPG and L Catterton, have helped Reliance to become debt-free, the company declared on June 19.

The RIL rights issue, which was subscribed 1.59 times, also gave a helping hand. It was not only the largest ever in India, but also the largest in the world by a non-financial entity in the last 10 years, it said.

On Intel's investment in Jio, Wendell Brooks, president of Intel Capital, said, “Jio Platforms’ focus on applying its impressive engineering capabilities to bring the power of low-cost digital services to India aligns with Intel’s purpose of delivering breakthrough technology that enriches lives.”

“Through this investment, we are excited to help fuel digital transformation in India, where Intel maintains an important presence,” he said in a statement.

Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of RIL, said Jio would leverage Intel expertise to boost its capabilities.

He said, “Intel Capital has an outstanding record of being a valuable partner for leading technology companies globally. We are therefore excited to work together with Intel to advance India’s capabilities in cutting-edge technologies that will empower all sectors of our economy and improve the quality of life of 1.3 billion Indians.”

Intel Capital has been investing globally in innovative companies with a focus on disruptive technology like cloud computing, artificial intelligence and 5G – same areas that Jio is innovating and investing for growth.

Intel Corp. has been operating in India for more than two decades and employs thousands of employees at its state-of-the art facilities in the southern Indian cities of Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

Jio Platforms, which operates on a next-generation technology platform, is focused on providing high-quality and affordable digital services across India. It boasts more than 388 million subscribers.

The firm has made significant investments across its digital ecosystem, powered by technologies spanning broadband connectivity, smart devices, cloud and edge computing, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, augmented and mixed reality, and blockchain.

Jio’s vision is to "enable a Digital India for 1.3 billion people and businesses across the country, including small merchants, micro-businesses and farmers," it said in its statement.