Vista Equity Partners to invest Rs 11,367 crore in Jio Platforms
US private equity firm Vista Equity Partners will invest ₹11,367 crore ($1.5 billion) for a 2.32% stake in Jio Platforms, the third such deal for the digital business unit of Reliance Industries (RIL) after Facebook and Silver Lake’s share acquisition plans.

Analysts expect Reliance to sell another 7-8% stake in Jio Platforms and help reposition the oil-to-retail-telecom conglomerate into a consumer technology company.

The investment pegs Jio Platforms at an equity value of ₹4.91 lakh crore and an enterprise value of ₹5.16 lakh crore, RIL said in a statement on Friday. With this deal, Jio Platforms is set to net a combined ₹60,596 crore, which will help the parent company meet its goal of zero net debt by March 31, 2021, experts said.

The story was broken online at 7 am on Friday. Reliance shares gained 3.6% to ₹1,561.80 at the close on the BSE Friday, while the benchmark Sensex rose 0.6%.

“Like our other partners, Vista also shares with us the same vision of continuing to grow and transform the Indian digital ecosystem… They believe in the transformative power of technology,” RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani said in the statement.

Founded in 2000 by US businessman and investor Robert F Smith and Brian Sheth, Vista is the world’s largest exclusively tech-focused private equity fund, with over $57 billion in capital commitments in enterprise software and technology companies such as Marketo, Ping Identity, Cvent and TIBCO.

Vista’s First Big Bet in India

“In Robert and Brian, whose family hails from Gujarat, I found two outstanding global technology leaders who believe in India… We are excited to leverage the professional expertise and multi-level support that Vista has been offering to its investments globally for the benefit of Jio,” Ambani added.

This is Vista’s first sizable investment in India, Reliance said. Vista portfolio companies have over 13,000 employees based in India.

“We are thrilled to join Jio Platforms to deliver exponential growth in connectivity across India, providing modern consumer, small business and enterprise software to fuel the future of one of the world’s fastestgrowing digital economies,” Smith said in the statement. Analysts said like the Facebook and Silver Lake deals, this is a fresh issue of equity shares that’s unlikely to have any tax incidence and should mean a relatively quick approval process for closure. The companies didn’t state a deadline for completing the deal.

Jio Platforms comprises mainly Reliance’s telecom business under Reliance Jio Infocomm, the largest in India with over 388 million subscribers.

Reliance’s other digital properties and investments such as Jio Cinema, Jio Saavn, Jio Mart and Haaptik are also housed under Jio Platforms.

Facebook said on April 22 it would invest $5.7 billion, or about ₹43,574 crore, in Jio Platforms for a 9.99% stake. US private equity firm Silver Lake said May 4 it will invest ₹5,655.75 crore in the company for a 1.15% stake, taking the total external stake sale to 13.46%.

“Diverse marquee investors are becoming longterm shareholders of JPL because of a unique set of technologies and platforms under one entity. There are no similar opportunities available anywhere else globally,” Reliance said. According to Rajiv Sharma, head of research at SBICap Securities, the back-toback deals suggest Reliance could sell another 7-8% stake in Jio as it moves to become a zero net debt company.

“We expect many such marquee deals in the next 1-2 years, as this route provides much-needed capital and advanced technologies. These deals will help Reliance reposition itself as a consumer/technology company,” brokerage Axis said.

CLSA said these stake sales along with the BP deal and Reliance’s upcoming rights issue may bring in ₹1.2 trillion, making its target of cutting net debt by ₹1.5 trillion more realistic.

Sharma said Jio Mart would be a strategic fit for Vista, which is a leading investor in the software as a service (SaaS) space while Jio Mart is positioned as a SaaS product to helping kiranas or neighbourhood stores with inventory management and running campaigns.

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