Jio Platforms Ltd., India's largest mobile operator, announced it is raising 113.67 billion rupees ($1.5 billion) from Vista Equity Partners, the U.S. private equity firm.
The deal is the latest in a series of investments by the Mumbai-based firm to eliminate its debt, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Last month, PYMNTS reported that Facebook would invest $5.7 billion for a 10 percent stake in Jio Platforms, the digital technology arm of Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani's conglomerate Reliance Industries.
“This investment underscores our commitment to India and our excitement for the dramatic transformation that Jio has spurred in the country,” David Fischer, chief revenue officer, and Ajit Mohan, vice president and managing director for India, wrote in a Facebook blog post.
The news service reported that Silver Lake, another American private-equity firm, said on Sunday (May 3) that it is investing $750 million into Jio.
“We believe in the potential of the digital society that Jio is building for India,” Vista Equity Chief Executive Robert Smith said in a statement. The deal will give the Texas firm a 2.3 percent stake in Jio.
The WSJ said Reliance has spent more than $30 billion building its upstart mobile operator, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., a division of Jio Platforms. Reliance has said it is aiming to be net debt-free by next year.
Vista “shares with us the same vision of continuing to grow and transform the Indian digital ecosystem,” Ambani said in a statement.
Jio has nearly 400 million subscribers with inexpensive mobile data plans, the news service reported. It is now moving into eCommerce as many in the country of 1.3 billion start to do business online for the first time.
“Facebook is looking beyond advertising now,” Satish Meena, an eCommerce analyst at Forrester in New Delhi, told the WSJ. “They are entering retail, but they need Reliance’s push.”