Google’s parent firm Alphabet will purchase 7.7% stake in Reliance Industries Ltd digital arm Jio Platforms for US$ 4.5 billion.
Reliance Industries, , India’s most highly-valued company run by billionaire Mukesh Ambani has raised $20.22 billion by selling nearly 33% of Jio Platforms which houses music, movie apps and telecoms venture Jio Infocomm.
In recent months Facebook, Intel Capital, General Atlantic, and Silver Lake picked up stake.
The announcement also came just days after Alphabet Inc said it would invest $10 billion in India via a so-called digitisation fund over the next five to seven years through equity deals and tie-ups.
“As we end our current cycle of capital raising, we are delighted to welcome another strategic partner into Jio,” Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani said at the company’s annual shareholders meeting hosted via a webcast.
Google will gain a board seat at Jio Platforms as part of the transaction.
The deal with Google will bolster Reliance’s tech ambitions, such as building smart homes, using solutions similar to Amazon.com Inc’s Alexa voice assistant, connected cars and security systems.
Jio and Google will also partner to built a low-cost “4G or even 5G smartphone” for India, Ambani said, in a move that is likely to get tens of millions of Indians to use mobile internet for the first time.
Jio Infocomm, the mainstay of Jio Platforms and India’s largest mobile carrier with more than 387 million users, will also widen Google’s reach in a country where just about 500 million of its 1.3 billion population use the internet.