Jio News - Google is in advanced talks to buy a stake in Reliance Industries' digital arm, Jio Platforms, according to a Bloomberg report. The agency said, quoting people familiar with the matter, that the announcement could come in the next few weeks.
If the deal happens, Google will join Facebook and a large group of private equity firms piling into Mukesh Ambani tech venture, which has already attracted more than $ 15 billion of investments in just a few months. Jio News - Qualcomm Inc. was the latest in Jio’s growing list of high-profile investors, which also includes Silver Lake Partners and Mubadala Investment Co.
The head of the search giant, Sundar Pichai, did not deny in an interview, nor confirmed reports of Google's interest in Jio.
Google has pledged $ 10 billion in India over the next five to seven years with the goal of strengthening its position in the digital ecosystem of the world's fifth-largest economy that is emerging as a battleground for global internet giants. Pichai told in an exclusive interview on Monday morning that the company's spending for India, nearly double the $ 5.7 billion investment made by Facebook's rival in the digital platform of Reliance's largest conglomerate. Industries in April will be rolled out through a combination of investments and partnerships.
"We will do it (deploy funds) through a combination of equity investments in large Indian companies, startups, and associations, as well as investments in infrastructure such as data centers," he said. The fund size, he said provides an "opportunity to make larger investments directly" in larger companies.
Jio's series of deals reinforced Ambani's ambition to morph Reliance into an e-commerce giant - Jio News
Jio is at the heart of Ambani's drive to create a homegrown version of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Relationship with Facebook gave the project a Silicon Valley seal of approval and attracted dozens of investors excited about the potential of the unit to get rid of online retail, content streaming, digital payments, education and healthcare in the 1.3 billion people market.
" Business-to-consumer sectors like retail and digital are more resilient to economic shocks," said Harsh Dole, an analyst at India Infoline Finance Ltd. The stock was benefiting from that, no doubt. "
Facebook, which has paid $ 5.7 billion for about 10% of Jio platforms according to Jio News, has said it expects the WhatsApp relationship to be the primary way for millions of small businesses in India to communicate with customers. The messaging app contains nearly 400 million users across the country, almost like Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.'s subscriber base for wireless services.
Source: Economics Times
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