Alphabet’s Google will invest about $4.5 billion in Jio Platforms, the company behind India’s largest telecom provider by subscribers, giving the American tech giant a powerful partner for its plans to get hundreds of millions more people online, reported The Wall Street Journal.
Google will take a 7.7% stake in Jio, which brought the internet to millions of people who previously couldn’t afford it by offering inexpensive handsets and data plans. It now has more than 388 million subscribers.
Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Jio’s parent company, Reliance Industries Ltd., and India’s richest man, announced the deal at a Reliance shareholder meeting Wednesday.
“Google has empowered millions of Indians to access helpful information and, like Jio, is a force for change and innovation,” Mr. Ambani said. ”We welcome Google onboard and are excited about our partnership for what it can deliver to Indians.”
Jio and Google also announced that they will work together to develop affordable smartphones.
The tie-up provides Jio with cash and another sophisticated international partner. In return, Google will get a powerful local ally. Reliance Industries has interests ranging from retail to refining and is known for its understanding of regulators and regulations.
Jio has raised billions of dollars from leading technology and private-equity firms around the world this year. The investment by Google follows others by companies includingFacebook, Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners, KKR, General Atlantic, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, sovereign investor Mubadala Investment and Qualcomm Ventures.