Silver lake management, one of the largest and oldest known technology investment firms, has invested $748 million (INR5655 crore) in Reliance Industries-owned telecom to digital company, Jio Platforms. The investment comes just days after Facebook’s 10% stake deal in the company. Interestingly, Silver lake has bought the stake at an equity valuation of $65B, which is a 12.5% premium on what Facebook paid.
Similar to the Facebook deal, the focus of Silver lake’s investment will also be ‘JioMart’, the digital e-retail platform that Reliance Jio is building to digitise India’s million of mom and pop store. Despite ecommerce becoming a $20B+ industry, India’s kirana stores (mom and pop stores) collectively generate over 90% of the overall retail business in India. That is a lucrative opportunity to grab, and JioMart will do just that.
Silver Lake’s investment into Jio Platforms wouldn’t entirely come as a surprise. Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, in company’s quarterly earnings call last week, announced plans to raise further money in Jio to pare of a net $21B debt that Reliance has on its balance sheet. Ambani invested around $40 billion to launch Jio in 2016.
Talking about the investment, Mukesh Ambani said in a prepared statement, “Silver Lake has an outstanding record of being a valuable partner for leading technology companies globally. Silver Lake is one of the most respected voices in technology and finance. We are excited to leverage insights from their global technology relationships for the Indian Digital Society’s transformation.”
Silver Lake management is best known for its massive early bet in technology major Dell, acquiring PC maker along with Michael Dell in 2013. Silver lake has over $43B in assets under management globally, making it one of the largest investment firms in the tech space. Its investments have included Airbnb, Alibaba, Ant Financial, Alphabet’s Verily and Waymo units, Dell Technologies, Twitter and numerous other global technology leaders.
Jio will use this investment, and possibly a few others that could come soon, to further develop its digital technologies outside of the telecom realm. “Jio’s vision is to enable a Digital India for 1.3 billion people and businesses throughout India, especially small merchants, micro-businesses and farmers. Jio has brought transformational changes in the Indian digital services space and propelled India on the path towards becoming a global technology leader and among the leading digital economies in the world.”, said the company in a statement.
Recently, Jio also announced its financial numbers for the fourth quarter of Fiscal Year 2019-20. The numbers have shown an impressive growth on both revenue and customer base front. The company clocked near about $2 Billion in quarterly revenue, with a total consumer base rising to 388 Million.