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Abu Dhabi Investment Authority to acquire $752m stake in India's Jio

Issac John /Dubai
issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com Filed on June 7, 2020 | Last updated on June 7, 2020 at 07.05 pm
ADIA, Reliance industries, Jio, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority

(Reuters)

The Adia deal is the third Jio Platforms has secured just this week, and the seventh in six weeks.

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Adia) on Sunday became the latest global investor and the second UAE-based sovereign wealth fund after Mubadala to acquire a stake in India's hot-selling digital firm Jio Platforms.

Adia, one the world's leading wealth funds with assets estimated at around $700 billion, will buy 1.16 per cent in India's digital giant for $752 million as part of its portfolio diversification drive.

Adia deal is the third Jio Platforms has secured just this week, and the seventh in six weeks.

The three-and-a-half-year-old digital unit of Reliance Industries Ltd, the most valuable firm in India, has now secured nearly $13 billion from seven investors including Facebook, US private equity firms Silver Lake, General Atlantic by selling close to 20 per cent stake.

Last week, Mubadala Investment of Abu Dhabi announced a $1.2 billion deal to buy 1.85 per cents take in Jio, which has become one of the most sought-after assets by global investors. Jio, India's largest telecom operator with over 388 million subscribers, has an equity value of $65 billion and an enterprise value of $68 billion.

"I am delighted that Adia, with its track record of more than four decades of successful long-term value investing across the world, is partnering with Jio Platforms in its mission to take India to digital leadership and generate inclusive growth opportunities. This investment is a strong endorsement of our strategy and India's potential," said Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries.

The new capital is expected to help Ambani, India's richest man, get closer to his goal of cutting Reliance's net debt of about $21 billion to zero by early 2021.

Adia, which has invested in 18 companies, according to data from Crunchbase, has for years been investing in Indian equities. The fund and India's National Investment and Infrastructure Fund agreed in April 2019 to buy a 49 per cent stake in the airport unit of Indian conglomerate GVK Power & Infrastructure.

India has emerged as one of the biggest global battlegrounds for Silicon Valley and Chinese firms that are looking to win the nation's 1.3 billion people, most of whom remain without a smartphone and internet connection.

According to reports, Amazon is considering buying stakes worth at least $2 billion in Bharti Airtel, India's third largest telecom operator, while Google has held talks for a similar deal in Vodafone Idea, the second largest telecom operator.

issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com

author

Issac John

Editorial Director of Khaleej Times, is a well-connected Indian journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the UAE's mainstream journalism for 35 years, including 23 years with Khaleej Times. A post-graduate in English and graduate in economics, he has won over two dozen awards. Acclaimed for his authentic and insightful analysis of global and regional businesses and economic trends, he is respected for his astute understanding of the local business scene.


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