Investments

India’s Jio Gets $750M Boost From Silver Lake

India, Jio, telecom, Silver Lake, investments, funding, smartphones, apps

Private equity firm Silver Lake is investing $750 million in India’s telecommunications giant Jio Platforms, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday (May 3).

The deal follows Facebook’s recent $5.7 billion Jio investment, which gave the social media giant an almost 10 percent stake in Jio, which is a subsidiary of Reliance Industries.

With the Silver Lake investment, Jio’s valuation hit $65 billion, 12.5 percent more than it was following Facebook’s investment. 

With 400 million customers, Jio is fast becoming a major wireless company in India. The startup has its own apps for video, music, chatting and eCommerce and has also developed its own smartphones.

Jio typically undercuts competitors’ rates and is striving to connect more of India’s 1.3 billion-plus residents. The company is being seen as “a prime candidate for an eventual initial public offering,” sources familiar with the matter told the WSJ.

First-quarter annual revenue was $8 billion, with an operating margin topping 40 percent.

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted Silver Lake to look for investment bargains. The Jio deal is the company’s third major investment in the past month.

Silver Lake invested $1 billion in Airbnb on April 6, and on April 20 partnered with Apollo Global Management to give $1.2 billion to Expedia Group. In March, Silver Lake invested $1 billion in Twitter.

Silver Lake, with roughly $40 billion in assets, has also invested in Dell, Motorola and Broadcom. In March, the company was the lead investor in a $2.25 billion in autonomous car startup Waymo, which is owned by Google parent Alphabet.

The company is hoping its Jio investment will be as successful as its Alibaba funding. Silver Lake cleaned up when Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. went public in 2014.

Facebook’s Jio investment was its biggest yet for a minority stake. The investment was also the largest investment for a minority stake by a technology company anywhere in the world and the largest foreign direct investment (FDI) in the technology sector in India.

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