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Silver Lake to Invest $750 Million in JioSaavn Parent

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Private-equity firm Silver Lake has struck a deal to invest $750 million in Indian telecom and technology giant Jio Platforms, less than two weeks after Facebook said it would pay $5.7 billion for a holding of about 10 percent in the company.

Silver Lake's investment values Jio at $65 billion, about 12.5 percent more than the valuation implied by Facebook's recent deal.

The pair of investments caps off a stunning ascent for the Indian telecom and digital services insurgent. Jio Platforms was launched by India's largest conglomerate, Reliance Industries, in late 2016. Based in Mumbai, Reliance Industries is controlled by India's richest man, Mukesh Ambani.

Thanks to heavy discounting and lavish spending on marketing, the firm has become a major wireless operator in India in record time. Jio counts nearly 400 million customers, has released its own low-cost mobile phones and has built a digital ecosystem of streaming video, music, chat, e-commerce platforms. The company also owns a 5 percent stake in Eros International, the veteran Bollywood studio that recently announced a surprise merger with Hollywood's STX Entertainment.

Jio has been working with Morgan Stanley to lead its fundraising efforts. The recent cash infusions will help Jio pay down debt while continuing towards its aggressive growth targets.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Jio is considered a prime candidate for an eventual initial public offering, citing unnamed sources close to the company. Silver Lake is thought to be seeking to replicate its success with early investments in China's Alibaba Group, which brought in a windfall when the Asian e-commerce giant went public in 2014.

Silver Lake has approximately $40 billion in assets under management, including major stakes in Hollywood agency Endeavor, Twitter, Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo, Dell Technologies and North America's largest movie theater chain, AMC Theatres. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the company has bought into a number of travel companies in urgent need of financing, including Airbnb and online travel-booking firm Expedia.

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.