Reliance Industries founder Mukesh Ambani has found yet another private investor for Jio Platforms, selling 1.16% for $750 million to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA).
Over last six weeks, 17.72% of the Jio Platforms business, the business which contains the disruptive telco Reliance Jio as well as other digital ventures, has been sold to private investors. The company has collected roughly $11 billion in return, offering a weighty bank account for aggressive expansion.
|Jio Platform investments since April 22, 2020|
|ADIA||1.16%||$750 million||7 June|
|Mubadala||1.85%||$1.2 billion||4 June|
|General Atlantic||1.34%||$860 million||18 May|
|Vista Equity Partner||2.32%||$1.5 billion||11 May|
|Silver Lake||1.15%||$750 million||4 May|
|9.9%||$5.7 billion||22 April|
“Jio Platforms is at the forefront of India’s digital revolution, poised to benefit from major socio-economic developments and the transformative effects of technology on the way people live and work,” said Hamad Shahwan Aldhaheri, Executive Director of the Private Equities Department at ADIA.
“The rapid growth of the business, which has established itself as a market leader in just four years, has been built on a strong track record of strategic execution.”
Now Jio Platforms has a monstrous amount of cash at its disposal, the question is what it does with it. There are of course numerous options.
Firstly, the business is likely to double down on effects to build and reinforce its 4G network. This will be the foundation of success for decades to come, and such large volumes of cash should also pave the way for a 5G launch in highly urbanised areas.
Secondly, the team has held ambitions in making a play for the fixed broadband market. This is a segment which has a lot of potential, as there are currently only 19.08 million fixed broadband subscribers in the country with roughly 250 million households. This might well have been put on the backburner, but it is an opportunity for disruption.
|Jio Platforms ventures|
|Reliance Jio||Telecoms service provider|
|JioMoney||Digital currency and payments services|
|Jio Apps||Applications for entertainment, social connectivity, music and news|
|JioMart||Online grocery delivery services|
|JioCloud||Cloud storage services|
A third option is investment in the digital economy. Now 4G connections are becoming much more common, the development of a varied and complex digital ecosystem is alluring. Anything and everything from content platforms, to fitness and health applications, to digital finance and the sharing economy can be facilitated by mass market connectivity.
This is perhaps the area which will be of most interest to the aforementioned investors, as while selling mobile subscriptions can be lucrative, Silicon Valley has already demonstrated how profitable this segment can be.
We suspect the development of an ecosystem will be the area most of interest, as this is where the greatest potential for profit lies, though there will certainly be more investment directed towards the mobile network. This is the cornerstone of Jio’s power, the reason it has decimated the India telco industry. Doubling down now could create an almost irreversible leadership position.