International Finance

Google to acquire 7.7% stake in Reliance Jio for $4.5 bn

Google Jio
Both parties will develop smarter and cheaper JioPhone with Android OS for India

Google has announced that it will acquire a 7.7 percent stake in India’s telecom giant Reliance Jio in a deal worth $4.5 billion, the media reported.

As per the deal, both parties will jointly develop smarter and cheaper JioPhone with Android OS for India. The announcement was made by Reliance Industry owner Mukesh Ambani during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) 2020.

During the event, he said, “Even though we have sold over 100 million JioPhones… there are many feature phone users who are waiting to upgrade to a conventional smartphone, if only it were somehow more affordable. So we have decided to address this challenge.”

Recently, US-based wireless technology company Qualcomm also invested around $97 million in India-based Reliance Jio Platform. The deal will see them acquire a 0.15 percent minority stake in Reliance Jio.

Prior to the Google deal, Reliance Jio had raised more than $15.7 billion in the past 12 weeks from as many investors such as Facebook, Intel and many more.

Intel Capital, the venture capital arm of American chipmaker Intel, has invested around $253.5 million in India’s telecom giant Jio Platforms., the media reported.

The deal will see Intel acquire a 0.39 percent stake in Reliance’s Jio.

In the month of April, Facebook also bought a 10 percent stake in Jio Platforms. The deal follows Facebook’s decision to launch a payment feature for WhatsApp in India.

Launched in 2016, Reliance Jio has established itself as a telecom giant in India in a short spell due to its competitive pricing strategy. Backed by multibillionaire Mukesh Ambani, Reliance Jio disrupted the Indian telecom sector which led to many telcos exiting the market with Vodafone on the brink of shutting down its business in India.

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