Major investments into an ostensibly asset-light tech business are actually betting on Jio’s telco dominance. Everything else is just the cherry on top.Varsha Bansal
A clutch of big-money international players — including Facebook, KKR, General Atlantic, and Silver Lake — have invested $10.35 billion into Reliance-owned Jio Platforms in quick succession over the last two months.
Jio Platforms is the holding company for the Indian conglomerate’s digital businesses, including digital content, online grocery delivery, cloud storage, and — most importantly — Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., the biggest telecommunications network (telco) in the country, with over 388 million subscribers.
It’s not every day that a major tech company like Facebook invests in a telco. And it’s also not every day that first-time investors in India, such as Silver Lake, write such big checks so quickly. Despite Reliance positioning Jio Platforms as an asset-light tech bet, financial investors such as General Atlantic and KKR are excited to invest in just Reliance’s telco itself — they view it as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to get access and big exposure to India, some sources familiar with the deal said.
“The telco positioning of Jio is strong enough on its own for these investors to make such large bets,” said an investor based in the U.S., requesting anonymity. “If the tech [Reliance] is trying to build on top works, that’s upside and would add a 10-15% premium — it has the infrastructure to buil
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