Move to take total foreign investment in RIL’s telecom and digital business to Rs 1,18,318.45 cr for a combined 25.24% holding

Qualcomm Ventures, the investment arm of Qualcomm Inc., will invest Rs 730 crore in Jio Platforms for a 0.15% stake, making it the twelfth investor in Reliance Industries’ (RIL’s) telecom and digital business in less than two months.

Qualcomm Ventures’ stake buy will take the total investments in Jio Platforms to Rs 1,18,318.45 crore for a combined 25.24% holding. The investment, which is subject to regulatory and other approvals, pegs Jio Platforms’ equity value at Rs 4.91 lakh crore and enterprise value at Rs 5.16 lakh crore, the companies said in a joint statement on Sunday.

“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, chairman of Reliance Industries.

Jio Platforms houses RIL’s telecom business under Reliance Jio Infocomm, the largest in the country with nearly 400 million subscribers, besides other digital properties and investments.

“With our shared goal of extending the benefits of digital connectivity to everyone and everything, we anticipate Jio Platforms will deliver a new set of services and experiences to Indian consumers,” said Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm.

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

Qualcomm’s investments come at a time when RIL is pivoting itself as a consumer technology company, away from being just an energy conglomerate. Jio is also betting big on 5G for propelling the next set of services.

In fact, RIL has stressed that Reliance Jio is more of a technology company than just a telecom firm, underlined by the fact that the 12 investors who have picked up stake mainly focus on the global technology space.

Prior to Qualcomm ventures, Intel Capital, social media firm Facebook, Abu Dhabi’s two largest sovereign investment arms – Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Mubadala, private equity firms Silver Lake (which invested in two tranches), Vista Equity Partners, General Atlantic, KKR, TPG, L Catterton and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), have invested in Jio Platforms.

Amongst those investments, Jio Platforms has got all the approvals for its stake sales to Facebook, L Catterton, Public Investment Firm (PIF), Silver Lake and General Atlantic Singapore, and already received a total of Rs 73,636.43 crore against a 16.12% stake.

Facebook’s investment was possibly the largest FDI investment in India’s tech landscape. RIL said recently that the funds raised by selling stakes in Jio Platforms, along with a Rs 53,124-crore rights issue, have made it net debt-free much before its stated March 2021 deadline.