Saudi Wealth Fund Invests $1.5 Billion In Reliance Jio

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Saudi Public Investment Fund, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds globally, has joined a slew of investors to have made big bets on Reliance Jio, the telecoms outfit led by Indian business titan Mukesh Ambani. Reliance Jio has announced a $1.5 billion investment from the Public Investment Fund, an investment that gives the fund a 2.32% stake in the telecom firm. The new investment sums up the amount Reliance Jio has raised in recent times to roughly $15 billion.

The slew of investments that added up to that amount was spearheaded by social media giant Facebook, which invested the largest individual amount, $5.7 billion, in Reliance Jio. Other backers include US-based private equity firms like Vista Equity, Silver Lake, General Atlantic, KKR, and TPG, and also the likes of Mubadala, a sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi, and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), a sovereign wealth fund that's known to have hundreds of billions of dollars.

With the new investment, Reliance Industries, the Indian conglomerate under which Reliance Jio is housed, seems to have scored another big win. Reliance Jio only launched in 2016 in India but has racked up some 388 million users in the country. In a four-year span, it grew to become India's largest telecom firm, thanks in part to some aggressive marketing tactics. Reliance spent big on Jio to attract users and racked up some significant debt in the process. The recent slew of investments in Reliance Jio will help pay down that debt, according to the company.

Photo credit: World Tourism Organization, under Creative Commons license