Google in Talks to Invest $4 Billion in Reliance Jio Platforms: Report

Telecoms

Alphabet’s Google is in advanced talks to invest $4 billion (roughly Rs. 30,140 crores) for a stake in the digital arm of Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Google declined to comment on the Bloomberg report, while Reliance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Investors, including Facebook and KKR, have already poured in a combined $15.64 billion (roughly Rs. 1.17 lakh crores) for just over 25 percent in Jio Platforms. The funding spree, which began late April, and a share sale by Reliance have helped make India’s biggest company net-debt free.

Reliance Industries said on Sunday Qualcomm’s investment arm will buy a 0.15 percent stake in its digital unit Jio Platforms for Rs. 730 crores ($97.1 million). The partnership will help Jio Platforms, the unit that houses Reliance’s telecoms venture Jio Infocomm, to “roll out advanced 5G infrastructure and services for Indian customers”, Reliance said in a statement.

Qualcomm’s move comes at a time India is preparing to auction 5G airwaves to telecoms service providers. With this new investment, Reliance has sold a 25.2 percent stake in Jio Platforms to investors in a funding spree that began late April, raising $15.69 billion (roughly Rs. 1.17 lakh crores).

Although Jio Platforms also comprises Reliance’s music and movie apps, Jio Infocomm – the mobile carrier – is its centrepiece.

Reliance chairman and billionaire tycoon Mukesh Ambani has always pitched Jio Infocomm as a tech company instead of a traditional telecoms firm.

That has helped Ambani win the backing of major tech firms such as Facebook, Intel, and now Qualcomm.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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