Financier Vista Invests $1.7 Billion in India’s Reliance Jio

Chairman of Reliance Industries Limited Mukesh
Rajanish Kakade/AP/Shutterstock

U.S. tech investor Vista Equity Partners is to spend $1.71 billion buying a stake in budding Indian media powerhouse Jio Platforms.

The two companies announced their deal less than two weeks after Facebook paid $5.7 billion to buy a 9.9% stake in Jio, and days after another financial investor Silver Lake paid $750 million. Jio, which was launched less than four years ago and is owned by India’s largest conglomerate Reliance Industries, has raised over $8.1 billion in the space of three weeks.

The deal gives Vista a 2.3% stake in Jio Platforms and makes it the third largest shareholder after Reliance Industries and Facebook. In a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange, Reliance said that the deal implies an equity value of $74 billion for Jio and an enterprise valuation of $77.6 billion.

In its early iteration, Reliance Jio offered low cost, nationwide cellular broadband services that quickly shook up the phones, internet and pay-TV markets. In three and a half years from launch, it now claims 388 million subscribers.

Under Mukesh Ambani, Reliance Industries has built its own streaming-era media empire. This has included acquiring stakes in TV groups, and the development of its own content production studios. Jio Platforms now has an array of media operations including music streaming service JioSaavn, broadband, on-demand live television service JioTV, and payments service JioPay. It also has a 5% stake in Eros International.

“We believe in the potential of the Digital Society that Jio is building for India. Mukesh’s vision as a global pioneer, alongside Jio’s world-class leadership team, have built a platform to scale and advance the data revolution it started,” said Vista founder, chairman and CEO, Robert F. Smith in a prepared statement.

The trio of share sales help Reliance industries reduce the debt burden that it amassed during its recent expansionary phase. The company said that it aims to eliminate more than $21 billion of debt by the year end. It announced a $7 billion share sale earlier this month.

Vista has approximately $57 billion in combined assets and capital commitments. It describes its focus as on “empowering and growing enterprise software, data and technology enabled companies that are reinventing industries and catalyzing change.”