Wireless technology major Qualcomm has announced an investment of $97 million (about Rs 730 crore) in Jio Platforms, the technology subsidiary of Reliance Industries (RIL).
The capital infusion, made at an enterprise value of $68 billion (Rs 5,16,000 crore), was carried out through investment unit Qualcomm Ventures, as per a statement. This gives the Delaware, California headquartered company 0.15% equity in Jio Platforms on a fully diluted basis, it added.
The deal will also see the companies partner to roll out advanced 5G infrastructure and services in India, the statement said. This is especially relevant at a time when India’s relationship with China has soured, with the country evaluating a ban on Chinese equipment for 5G trials, with contentenders such as Huawei and ZTE in the fray.
“Qualcomm has been a valued partner for several years and we have a shared vision of connecting everything by building a robust and secure wireless and digital network and extending the benefits of digital connectivity to everyone in India,” Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of RIL, said in a statement. “As a world leader in wireless technologies, Qualcomm offers deep technology knowhow and insights that will help us deliver on our 5G vision and the digital transformation of India for both people and enterprises.”
RIL last raised funds for Jio Platforms from technology firm Intel Capital earlier this month, and private equity firm L Catterton and alternate asset management firm TPG Capital in June. Since April, Jio Platforms has raised $15.74 billion, excluding the current announcement, from companies such as social media firm Facebook, private equity firms Silverlake, Vista Equity Partners, General Atlantic, KKR Mubadala Investment Company, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, apart from L Catterton, TPG Capital and Intel.
The fundraising spree, which sought to pare RIL’s $40 billion debt by March 2021, fast tracked the process, making the firm debt free in June. Jio Platforms includes RIL’s telecom business, which claims to have a 388 million subscriber base.
“Jio Platforms has led the digital revolution in India through its extensive digital and technological capabilities. As an enabler and investor with a longstanding presence in India, we look forward to playing a role in Jio's vision to further revolutionize India’s digital economy,” Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm, said.