KKR joins the Jio Platforms bandwagon with $1.5 bn bet

KKR joins the Jio Platforms bandwagon with $1.5 bn bet
Photo Credit: Reuters
22 May, 2020

Reliance Industries (RIL) has scooped up another investment tranche for its wholly owned subsidiary Jio Platforms. New York headquartered private equity firm KKR is the latest to join the bandwagon of investors in Jio with a Rs 11,367 crore ($1.5 billion) investment, according to regulatory filings.

The latest infusion takes the total capital raised by Jio so far to $10.37 billion over the last month.

The KKR tranche values Jio Platform at Rs 4.91 lakh crore, at an enterprise value of Rs 5.16 lakh crore, similar to the valuation at which RIL recently announced an investment of Rs 6598.38 crore ($887 million) from General Atlantic as well as investments from Vista Equity Partners and Silver Lake

The infusions from the three investment firms were made at a valuation 12.5% higher than Facebook’s Rs 43,574 crore ($5.7 billion) bet on the company, the largest in terms of ticket size so far.

“I am delighted to welcome KKR, one of the world’s most respected financial investors, as a valued partner in our onward march to growing and transforming the Indian digital ecosystem for the benefit of all Indians. KKR shares our ambitious goal of building a premier Digital Society in India,” said Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of RIL in a statement.

The investment in Jio also marks KKR’s largest in the Asia market and will be done through its Asia private equity and growth technology funds. The firm is also an investor in TikTok owner ByteDance and hyperlocal delivery and rides platform GoJek. 

“Jio Platforms is a true homegrown next generation technology leader in India that is unmatched in its ability to deliver technology solutions and services to a country that is experiencing a digital revolution. We are investing behind Jio Platforms’ impressive momentum, world-class innovation and strong leadership team, and we view this landmark investment as a strong indicator of KKR’s commitment to supporting leading technology companies in India and Asia Pacific,” said Henry Kravis, co-founder and co-CEO of KKR in the statement.

RIL had restructured its business to bring all digital businesses under the Jio Platforms umbrella in October 2019. The Jio Platforms business includes the company’s telecom business with 338 million subscribers as well as a portfolio of digital companies it has invested in or acquired over the course of last year largely. These include business in smart devices, cloud and edge computing, big data analytics, and others. 

The company announced that it has a gross debt of Rs 3.4 lakh crore as part of its quarterly filings on March 31. The current fundraise and its impending rights issue for Rs 53,125 crore will help the company achieve its target of being debt free by March 2021, as stated by the chairman of RIL.