Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), is in talks with billionaire Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries (RIL) to pump in around $1 billion (about Rs 7,500 crore) in Reliance Jio fibre assets, reported Economic Times.
Earlier, too, the PIF had earlier announced an investment of Rs 11,367 crore in Jio Platforms—the digital assets unit of RIL. The Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund started negotiations after rival Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) re-engaged with Jio on a similar proposal to infuse approximately $1 billion in its pan-India fibre assets, reported the newspaper.
Both PIF and ADIA have invested a total of around $2.2 billion to Jio Platform’s $20.8 billion fundraise that witnessed 13 global investors, led by social media behemoth Facebook, coming on board in a span of a couple of months.
The financial quoted a long-time Ambani family associate familiar with the matter as saying, “Saudi Aramco is already negotiating to invest in Reliance’s refining and petrochemical business. From a pure vendor arrangement between an oil producer and a refiner, both Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and (RIL Chairman) Mukesh Ambani want to cement their association as strategic partners.”
Late last year, these discussions were stalled due to lack of consensus on commercial and operating terms between RIL and ADIA-led group that included I Squared Capital, an infrastructure focussed fund, and GIC of Singapore. At stake was a controlling stake of pan India fibre InVIT—Jio Digital Fibre. At the time, Mukesh Ambani’s family office had also proposed to co-invest. The tower trade has not yet received regulatory approvals, the publication mentioned.
Fixed broadband penetration in India is at only 6 per cent as compared with 70 per cent in Eurozone and 80 per cent in Japan, according to domestic rating agency Crisil report.