(Reuters) – Reliance Industries (RELI.NS) has raised $10 billion in just a month through five stake sales in digital unit Jio Platforms, whose valuation has surged to $65 billion.
That makes it India’s second-most valuable standalone tech business after Tata Consultancy Services (TCS.NS) which is worth $99 billion.
– Reliance Industries, controlled by Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, was worth about $129 billion as of Thursday’s close. Jio Platforms’ valuation puts it just ahead of the combined value of the conglomerate’s oil, gas and other businesses.
– The latest $1.5 billion investment by KKR & Co (KKR.N) comes on the heels of four other deals. Facebook Inc (FB.O) led with a $5.7 billion purchase of a 9.99% stake. Vista Equity Partners has invested about $1.5 billion, General Atlantic roughly $850 million and Silverlake $750 million.
– After the latest sale, Reliance retains 83% of Jio Platforms.
– The deals will help Reliance meet its goal of eliminating $21.4 billion in net debt by the end of the year.
– Reliance’s shares have tripled in value in the last three years coinciding with staggering subscriber growth at Jio Infocomm, which is now part of Jio Platforms.
The telecom carrier has notched up more than 376 million subscribers since its launch in late 2016, mainly at the expense of Vodafone Idea (VODA.NS). Vodafone Idea lost a fifth of its wireless customers last year and had some 329 million subscribers as of January.
– Reliance’s oil and gas, refining and petrochemical businesses once underpinned the conglomerate’s growth, but they have taken a sharp hit as oil prices collapsed. Weakness in those businesses led Reliance to post its worst quarterly profit fall in 11 years last month.
– In addition to operating the world’s biggest refining complex, Reliance also operates supermarkets and TV channels.
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