India’s Reliance says Vista Equity to invest $1.5 billion in digital arm

FILE PHOTO: A woman rides her scooter past advertisements of Reliance Industries’ Jio telecoms unit, in Ahmedabad, India, July 5, 2018. REUTERS/Amit Dave

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s Reliance Industries Ltd said on Friday private equity firm Vista Equity Partners would invest 113.67 billion rupees ($1.5 billion) in its digital business unit for a 2.32% stake, in a boost to the conglomerate’s effort to pare debt.

The investment values Jio Platforms, which houses telecoms venture Reliance Jio Infocomm and other digital businesses, at an equity value of 4.91 trillion rupees and enterprise value of 5.16 trillion rupees, Reliance said.

The deal comes little over two weeks after Reliance said Facebook will buy a 9.99% stake in Jio Platforms, and just days after the Mumbai-based company announced a $750 million investment by private equity firm Silver Lake.

It will help the energy-to-telecoms giant, controlled by billionaire tycoon Mukesh Ambani, meet its target to eliminate $21.4 billion of net debt by the end of the year.

Reliance last month reported a 39% decline in March quarter profit, hit by a sharp fall in oil prices and lower fuel demand.

Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal in New Delhi and Juby Babu in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Lincoln Feast.

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