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Reliance’s Jio gets $97 mn from Qualcomm Ventures for 5G push
Photo Credit: Shah Junaid/VCCircle

Qualcomm Ventures has agreed to invest up to Rs 730 crore ($97 million) in Reliance Industries Ltd’s digital unit, Jio Platforms Ltd, the Indian energy-to-telecom conglomerate said.

The investment arm of chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. will get a 0.15% stake in Jio Platforms, Reliance said in a statement.

The investment will help Jio Platforms in its initiative to roll out advanced 5G infrastructure and services for Indian customers, Reliance said.

“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,” said Mukesh Ambani, RIL’s billionaire chairman and managing director.

Qualcomm Ventures invests in companies in areas like 5G, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, automotive, networking and enterprise. In India, it has invested in companies such as IoT device developer Borqs and digital payments firm BonusHub and logistics startup Shadowfax.

Qualcomm is the 12th investor in Jio Platforms. Its investment takes the total amount that Jio Platforms has raised from 12 investors to Rs 118,318.45 crore ($15.7 billion).

The other investors are Facebook Inc, Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners, General Atlantic, KKR, Mubadala Investment Company, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, TPG, L Catterton, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Intel Capital.

Facebook invested Rs 43,574 crore in Jio Platforms, Vista Equity, PIF and KKR Rs 11,367 crore each, and General Atlantic Rs 6,598.38 crore. Silver Lake and co-investors are putting in Rs 10,202.55 crore while TPG and L Catterton are investing Rs 4,546.8 crore and Rs 1,894.5 crore, respectively. Intel Capital is also investing Rs 1,894.50 crore.

The Qualcomm investment values Jio Platforms at an equity value of Rs 4.91 trillion and an enterprise value of Rs 5.16 trillion. This is 12.5% higher than the level at which social media giant Facebook had put in money, but the same as the valuation in the investments made by other investors.

Reliance Industries had created Jio Platforms late last year to house all its digital business while absorbing the entire $13.5-billion debt of its telecom business, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. This was seen as a precursor to monetise the telecom business that requires more capital investments to move to a next-generation ecosystem.

Previously, Reliance had spliced out its telecom infrastructure assets including towers and roped in Canadian investor Brookfield to seal the biggest private equity deal ever in India worth some $3.7 billion.

Reliance also plans to sell a 20% stake in its oil-to-chemicals business to Saudi Aramco for around $15 billion.

Morgan Stanley acted as the financial adviser to Reliance Industries. AZB & Partners and Davis Polk & Wardwell acted as legal counsels. Trilegal acted as legal counsel for Qualcomm Ventures.

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