Google is the latest multinational suitor to enter the fray along with other US tech giants Amazon and Microsoft to buy stakes in India's telco players, including Jio Platforms, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea.
Google is reported to be in advanced talks to invest $4 billion for a stake in Reliance Industries digital arm Jio, while Amazon is in talks to invest $2 billion in Bharti Airtel as Microsoft considers taking a $2 billion (2.5 per cent) stake in Jio, various reports said.
If the deal happens, Google, which recently pledged $10 billion investment in India over the next five to seven years, will join facebook, other global investors including UAE's Mubadala and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority joining the Jio bandwagon promoted by Asia's richest tycoon Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Limited.
Other investors include US private equity firms KKR, Vista, General Atlantic, TPG, L Catterton, and Silver Lake, whose deal has two parts. In a recent deal, Jio Platforms announced that Saudi Arabia's sovereign fund would invest $1.5 billion for a 2.3 per cent stake in the company. After the Saudi deal in June, RIL claimed on Friday that it is now "net debt-free", a feat it achieved nine months earlier than expected.
Ambani who is worth is $68.3 billion, has now surpassed business tycoon Warren Buffet with a net wealth of $67.9 billion.
Jio Platforms, which counts more than 388 million mobile subscribers in India, has so far attracted more than $15.64 billion in investments for just over 25 per cent from 11 global investors in over two months and is in the process of finalizing more deals.
Another new investor in Jio is the venture arm of Qualcomm which will invest up to $97.1 million in Jio Platforms, amounting to about a 0.15 per cent stake. The investment will support Jio Platforms on its journey to roll out advanced 5G infrastructure and services for Indian customers.
Jio's first investor facebook, which paid $5.7 billion for about 10 per cent stake, has triggered an unprecedented investment flow that changed the dynamics in the telecom sector by recording the "largest investment for a minority stake by a technology company anywhere in the world and the largest FDI in the technology sector in India."
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