Jio Platforms scores another investment: $1.5bn from Saudi Arabia's PIF


Collectively, private equity firms and tech giants from the USA and the Middle East made up 10 investors in Ambani's Jio and the business tycoon raised over $15 billion (INR 115,693 crores).

Entrepreneur Mukesh Ambani on Friday said that his company Reliance Industries is now "net-debt free" after raising over Rs 1.68 lakh crore in 58 days.

In a statement, RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani said: "I have fulfilled my promise to the shareholders by making Reliance net debt-free much before our original schedule of 31st March 2021". Jio, Reliance's wireless unit, previous year became India's biggest telecom operator by subscribers and plans to use its roughly 400 million customers as the cornerstone of an e-commerce and digital business.

"We have a very clear roadmap to becoming a zero net-debt company within the next 18 months that is by March 31, 202", he had said past year highlighting strong interest from strategic and financial investors in consumer businesses, Jio and Reliance Retail.

As of 10.46 am, RIL's shares were trading at Rs 1,682.45 or 1.58% higher on the Sensex, and at Rs 1,684.00 (1.70%) on the Nifty 50.

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The US has been pressuring its allies to shut Chinese-made equipment out of their 5G networks on national security grounds. Nevertheless, the US has gone ahead to ban Huawei, a decision that is hurting the company in some regards.

Rights Issue comes into play when the company offers existing share holders more shares at lesser prices as a non-dilutive pro rata way to raise capital. "With these investments, RIL has become net debt free", it added. This is even more remarkable that this was achieved amidst a global lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reliance said the Saudi inflow marks the end of Jio's current phase of bringing in equity partners.

The group racked up net debt of 1.6 trillion rupees as of March as it spent billions to build a wireless network, and the tycoon had promised shareholders in August that he would slash that to zero within 18 months.

Apart from Facebook, the list of investors in Jio Platforms includes six private equity entities-General Atlantic, TPG, KKR, Silver Lake, L Catterton, Vista Equity Partners-and three sovereign funds: Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Mubadala Investment Co. and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.

"I also express my heartfelt gratitude to all the retail and institutional investors, both domestic and foreign, for their overwhelming participation in our record-setting Rights Issue".