Intel to invest $253 million in Indian telco Jio Platforms on bet

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Mukesh D. Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd., attends the Ajay Mushran Memorial Lecture in New Delhi, India, on Sunday, July 10, 2011.

Pankaj Nangia | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Intel is investing over $250 million in Indian telco Jio Platforms, just three months after Facebook announced a $5.7 billion bet on the company.

Owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries, Jio Platforms announced the Intel investment in a media release on Friday via Twitter. Intel will inject $253.5 million into the company, which is valued at $65 billion, in exchange for 0.39% stake.

The investment — being made through the chipmaker’s venture firm, Intel Capital — comes after Facebook said it was investing $5.7 billion in the Indian company in exchange for a 9.9% stake in April.

Jio Platforms operates the Jio Infocomm telecom network, which has amassed over 388 million 4G subscribers since launching in 2016. Today it is India’s top telco, and also has several apps and other services in e-commerce and broadband. 

“Jio Platforms’ focus on applying its impressive engineering capabilities to bring the power of low-cost digital services to India aligns with Intel’s purpose of delivering breakthrough technology that enriches lives,” said Wendell Brooks, Intel Capital President, in a statement.

“We believe digital access and data can transform business and society for the better.” 

Home to 1.35 billion people, India is developing fast and investors don’t want to miss out on that opportunity, particularly when it comes to technological advances. 

Technology research analyst Neil Shah wrote on Twitter that Intel’s investment will help ensure India’s “5G network has a healthy share of Intel solutions.”

Ambani, India’s richest man, is in the process of trying to sell approximately 20% of Jio Platforms to raise cash for debt-ridden parent company Reliance Industries, which is heavily involved in oil and petrochemicals. It reportedly has a net debt pile of around $20 billion. 

U.S. investors like KKR, General Atlantic, Silver Lake and Vista have pumped billions into Jio Platforms. 

Last month, UAE sovereign wealth fund Mubadala revealed it was investing $1.2 billion in the company, while Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund put in $1.5 billion. 

Facebook’s investment was the company’s biggest deal since its $19 billion WhatsApp purchase. 

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