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Reliance Jio's 9.99% stake bought by Facebook for Rs 43,574 crore

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CIO Insider Team

The social media giant, Facebook will invest INR 43,574 crore into Jio Platforms, a unit of Reliance Industries (NSE 7.72 %), for a 9.99% stake. A development, which on Wednesday, boosted the shares of India's oil-to-retail conglomerate over 8% in early trade.

Following this investment, the Jio Platforms - a digital apps platform – will value at Rs 4.62 lakh crore. The deal will help Mukesh Ambani-owned RIL to reduce debt further, and in turn allow the Mark Zuckerberg-led company to get a stronger foothold in what is the US major's largest market.

Both organizations, in separate statements, said that they will join hands on some major projects that will open up commerce opportunities for people across India.

"Reliance Industries Limited, Jio Platforms Limited and Facebook, Inc. today announced the signing of binding agreements for an investment of Rs43,574 crore by Facebook into Jio Platforms," RIL said in a statement on Wednesday.

The wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Platform Reliance Jio will continue to be owned by RIL's telecom unit with 388 million subscribers. RIL confirmed that this deal was the largest investment for a minority stake by a technology company anywhere in the world and the largest FDI in the technology sector in India.

Not so surprisingly, as a direct result of this deal, in early trade Wednesday, the RIL stock was up 6.8% at Rs1,320.55 on the BSE.

"At the core of our partnership is the commitment that Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, and I share for the all-round digital transformation of India and for serving all Indians…In the post-Corona era, I am confident of India’s economic recovery and resurgence in the shortest period of time. The partnership will surely make an important contribution to this transformation," said Mukesh Ambani, chairman and MD of RIL in the statement.

“This is especially important right now, because small businesses are the core of every economy and they need our support. India has more than 60 million small businesses and millions of people rely on them for jobs,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.

“With communities around the world in lockdown, many of these entrepreneurs need digital tools they can rely on to find and communicate with customers and grow their businesses,” he said. “We're looking forward to getting started”.

The prime objective of this business is to bring forth digital solutions for 60 million micro, small and medium businesses, 120 million farmers, 30 million small merchants and millions of small and medium enterprises in the informal sector.

By means of with this investment, Jio Platforms, Reliance Retail and WhatsApp have also entered into a commercial partnership agreement to further accelerate Reliance Retail’s New Commerce business on the JioMart platform using WhatsApp and to support small businesses on WhatsApp.

"In the very near future, JioMart – Jio’s digital new commerce platform, and Whatsapp – will empower nearly 3 crore small Indian Kirana shops to digitally transact with every customer in their neighbourhood. This means all of you can order and get faster delivery of day-to-day items, from nearby local shops," Ambani said.

He also assured that the small kiranas can grow their businesses and create new employment opportunities using digital technologies.
“Our goal is to enable new opportunities for businesses of all sizes, but especially for the more than 60 million small businesses across India. They account for the majority of jobs in the country, and form the heart and soul of rural and urban communities alike.

In the face of the coronavirus, it is important that we both combat this global pandemic now, and lay the groundwork to help people and businesses in the years to come,” Facebook said.

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