India's Jio welcomes Vista as latest investor

Reliance Jio has received an investment of 113.67 billion Indian rupees ($1.5 billion) from Vista Equity Partners, giving the US private equity firm a 2.32% stake in India's hottest digital property.

The investment is the third Jio has received in the last couple of weeks, following moves by Facebook and Silver Lake for stakes of 10% and 1.5% stake respectively. (See After Facebook, Silver Lake invests $747M in India's Jio and Facebook places huge bet on India with $5.7B Jio stake.)

The Vista investment gives Jio an equity value of INR4.91 trillion ($64.9 billion) and an enterprise value of INR5.16 trillion ($68.2 billion). In total, Jio has now raised INR605.96 billion ($8 billion) from the three investments. Once the transaction is cleared by regulatory and other government bodies, it should support a debt reduction from the current level of about INR400 billion ($5.2 billion).

"Vista has more than $57 billion in cumulative capital commitments and its global network of companies collectively represents the fifth-largest enterprise software company in the world," said Jio in a press release.

While this is Vista's first sizable investment in India, Vista portfolio companies have a considerable presence in the country, with more than 13,000 employees.

Jio's success at attracting key technology investors points to its own growth potential as well as the opportunity surrounding digital services and products in India. More such deals are likely to be announced soon as the Reliance Group shifts its focus from the energy sector to the technology one.

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Such deals will help Jio not only to raise funds but also to build expertise in advanced technologies and gain an edge over competitors Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea. Other service providers have also recently received funding support, but Jio is the only one currently generating a profit.

Further, with the recent deals, Jio is well placed to invest in the latest technology to provide better coverage and products and a superior network experience to its subscribers. This should help it to attract high-paying subscribers to its network. As of now, a significant percentage of its customers use Jio as a secondary SIM.

With the recent funding, Jio is also in a better position to participate in the forthcoming 5G spectrum auction. All the service providers, including Jio, have complained about high prices the government plans to charge for new licenses.

— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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