Facebook acquires 9.99% equity stake in India’s Jio Platforms for $5.7 billion

Facebook Inc has announced a $5.7 billion investment in India’s Reliance Industries Ltd’s telecom unit. The social media giant’s investment will translate to a 9.99 per cent equity stake in Jio Platforms on a fully diluted basis, Jio said in a statement.

Facebook on Wednesday said it would focus on collaborating its messaging platform WhatsApp with Reliance’s e-commerce venture JioMart. The intention is to enable people to connect with businesses, shops and purchase products, it said in a statement.

The deal comes at a time when Facebook-owned WhatsApp has secured approval to roll out its digital payment service in India, according to media reports, to compete with the likes of Google Pay and Paytm.

“This investment by Facebook values Jio Platforms at Rs 4.62 lakh crore pre-money enterprise value, agreed at a conversion rate of Rs 70 to a US Dollar. Facebook’s investment will translate into a 9.99 per cent equity stake in Jio Platforms on a fully diluted basis,” RIL said.

Facebook, in a statement posted on its website, said the investment “underscores our commitment to India, and our excitement for the dramatic transformation that Jio has spurred in the country.”

RIL chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani said “the synergy between Jio and Facebook will help realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ Mission with its two ambitious goals – ‘Ease of Living’ and ‘Ease of Doing Business’ – for every single category of Indian people without exception.”

RIL hopes to leverage the power of complementary platforms across Jio and Facebook “especially” to modernise India`s small businesses.

“Our focus will be India’s 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,” RIL said.

The deal will allow Facebook to wade deeper into the Indian market where its WhatsApp messaging platform alone has 400 million users. India is home to some of Facebook’s most thriving communities on WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram.

Last month, it was reported that social media giant was in talks for a 10 per cent stake in Jio but the talks were halted due to global travel bans amid the coronavirus outbreak.