Mumbai: Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani extended a fund-raising streak in the digital platform business he leads, adding a 113.7 billion rupee ($1.5 billion) investment by KKR & Co. to help his Reliance Industries Ltd. conglomerate pay down debt.
The deal gives the New York-based private equity fund 2.32 per cent in Reliance's Jio Platforms Ltd., Reliance said in a statement. The transaction gives the business an enterprise value of 5.16 trillion rupees and brings the string of investments to five in recent weeks totaling more than $10 billion.
Ambani, Asia's richest man, has been selling stakes in the Jio digital services holding company for the past two months in support of a vow to bring net debt of more than $20 billion to zero at his oil, retail and telecommunications group before March 2021. The deals with US-based giants from Facebook Inc. to Silver Lake and General Atlantic also bolster Ambani's plan to shift away from oil and petrochemicals toward faster growing consumer businesses.
Jio Platforms combines the conglomerate's digital assets with its wireless carrier, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., into a holding company aimed at becoming a top ecommerce and payments operator in India's vast consumer market.
Started in 2016, Reliance Jio is now India's largest wireless carrier. The operator stormed past rivals by building a nationwide 4G network, then offering free calling and data services at prices established competitors with older networks could not match without losing money.