US investors into the young Indian digital company

General Atlantic has agreed a deal for an $870 million stake in Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Platforms, extending an eye-catching run of investments by top US investors into the young Indian digital company at the height of the global coronavirus pandemic. The New York-based private equity firm will take a 1.3 per cent stake in four-year-old Jio, part of Mr Ambani’s sprawling Reliance Industries conglomerate, valuing the entity at $65 billion. General Atlantic becomes Jio’s fourth American investor in as many weeks. The deal is also General Atlantic’s largest in Asia to date. Earlier this month, fellow US private equity firms Vista Equity Partners and Silver Lake announced their own investments into Jio, at $1.5 billion and $750 million respectively, with an April deal by Facebook for a bumper $5.7 billion stake priming the way for a string of investments. Even as the once-in-a-century pandemic upends global businesses and hits Reliance’s own finances, India’s richest man Mr Ambani has accelerated plans to transform Jio into a homegrown tech giant by bringing on global investors and cutting debt. Reliance, whose core businesses are in oil refining and petrochemicals, launched the telecom operator in 2016 using cheap 4G data plans and freebies to gain market share. It now has 388 million subscribers and online services like broadband and ecommerce. 

Benjamin Parkin, Arash Massoudi and Anjli Raval