U.S. investment group General Atlantic is to spend $870 million buying a stake in expanding Indian media powerhouse Jio Platforms.
The two companies announced their deal within a month of Facebook emerging as a strategic investor in the firm with a 9.9% stake that cost it $5.7 billion. That move was followed by stake purchases announced by two financial investors, Silver Lake which paid $750 million and Vista which paid $1.71 billion for a 2.3% stake. In total Jio Platforms has raised $10..1 billion.
Reliance said that the General Atlantic deal implies an equity value of $74 billion for Jio and an enterprise valuation of $77.6 billion. General Atlantic will own 1.34% of the firm.
In its early iteration, Jio offered low cost, nationwide cellular broadband services that quickly shook up the phones, internet and pay-TV markets. In three and a half years from launch, it now claims 388 million subscribers.
In a corporate presentation issued over the weekend, Reliance said that data consumption in India has grown 40-fold since the launch of Jio. India’s share of global data traffic has gone from 1% to 17% in the same time.
Under Mukesh Ambani, Reliance Industries has built its own streaming-era media empire. This has included acquiring stakes in TV groups, and the development of its own content production studios. Jio Platforms now has an array of media operations including music streaming service JioSaavn, broadband, on-demand live television service JioTV, and payments service JioPay. It also has a 5% stake in Eros International.
The trio of share sales help Reliance industries reduce the debt burden that it amassed during its recent expansionary phase. The company said that it aims to eliminate more than $21 billion of debt by the year end. It announced a $7 billion rights issue share sale earlier this month.
General Atlantic has previously invested in other tech businesses including: Airbnb, Alibaba, Ant Financial, ByteDance, Facebook, Slack, Snapchat and Uber.