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General Atlantic invests Rs 6,598.38 crore in Jio Platforms, third large investment after Facebook

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General Atlantic announced May 18 that it will invest Rs 6,598.38 crore (around $870 million) in Reliance Jio’s holding company Jio Platforms, the former said in a press release. This is Jio’s third significant investment after Facebook, last month, bought a 9.9% stake in the telco for $5.7 billion. Jio has now raised over Rs 66,000 crore from investors in the last month alone. Beyond telecom services, Jio plans on using these investments to fund their entry into hyperlocal e-commerce to begin with, as well as other digital plays the company already has in place. General Atlantic has also invested in companies like Airbnb, Alibaba, ByteDance (which owns TikTok), Facebook, Slack, Snapchat, and Uber.

On May 8, Jio Platforms announced Rs 11,367 crore (US$1.5 billion) investment from Vista Equity Partners. Silver Lake had announced a Rs 5,655.75 crore investment in Jio Platforms a few days prior.

In its earnings call for Q4FY2019–20, RIL had said that investments similar to size in Facebook were going to follow in the coming months. A key part of Jio Platforms in addition to the Jio network is JioMart, the grocery home delivery service that will be closely integrated with Facebook’s WhatsApp, which 400 million people have installed in India.

  • Increased focus on telecom and B2C: Reliance is preparing to sell off a significant oil and petrochemicals wing, worth tens of billions of dollars. Now that telecom and home delivery are among the few industries which are likely to survive the throes of this pandemic, the company’s focus on telecom is likely to intensify. With its own $21 billion infusion into Jio Platforms and Facebook’s capital, the company is likely to double down on these businesses. Its existing retail network and size will help it scale.
  • Will Jio deliver? As JioMart pilots in Maharashtra, Jio’s integration with WhatsApp will determine the shape of things to come. Under normal circumstances, JioMart would be a calculated risk with all the competition in place. But Jio’s resources and a sharp uptick in preference for home delivered groceries should give Jio a solid opportunity to make a mark here, and make it fast; during its earnings call, the company said it would accelerate JioMart’s deployment in the coming months. What’s more, groceries have driven Reliance Retail’s growth in the past quarter (with a year-over-year growth of 107%), so home delivery should boost those revenues further.

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