Facebook Inc is in talks to acquire stake India’s leading telecom company Reliance Jio, according to a report published in Financial Times.
The report said the social media giant was in talks for a 10% stake in Jio, controlled by India’s wealthiest man Mukesh Ambani, but the talks were halted due to global travel bans amid the coronavirus outbreak.
According to previous reports, Reliance Jio’s enterprise value was estimated to be around $60-65 billion in October 2019 following the company’s future plan to clear all its debt till March 2021.
Reliance Jio had a subscriber market share of 32.1 percent and a revenue market share of 35.4 percent in December 2019 as per previous reports.
Recently, Reliance had restructured the digital businesses to bring it under a single entity in a bid to unlock value. “Given the reach and scale of our digital ecosystem, we have received strong interest from potential strategic partners. We will induct the right partners in our platform company, creating and unlocking meaningful value for RIL shareholders,” Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, RIL had told shareholders in October 2019.
This comes even as Reliance Industries said in January its plan to close the deal to sell a 20 percent stake in its oil to chemicals business for $15 billion to Saudi Aramco will miss the March 31 timeline announced earlier. The deal was announced in August 2019.
Reliance Industries had soft-launched Jio back in 2015 with its public operations starting in 2016. The company had become the largest telecom operator with a huge subscriber base of over 370 million in three years according to data published by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
Facebook, recently invested in multiple Indian startups including social commerce platform Meesho and ed-tech start-up Unacademy.