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Ambani's Jio adds Intel backing with 18.95b rupee deal

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The investment arm of Intel agreed to pay 18.95 billion rupees (SUS$354.1 million) for a stake in Jio Platforms, the telecommunications and digital services business of Reliance Industries, adding to investments in recent months by top Silicon Valley companies and private equity funds.

[MUMBAI] The investment arm of Intel agreed to pay 18.95 billion rupees (SUS$354.1 million) for a stake in Jio Platforms, the telecommunications and digital services business of Reliance Industries, adding to investments in recent months by top Silicon Valley companies and private equity funds.

The deal is for a 0.39 per cent share and gives the business a US$65 billion equity value, Reliance said in a statement on Friday.

Intel Capital joins global names including Facebook, KKR & Co and Silver Lake Partners in backing billionaire Mukesh Ambani's bid to transform Reliance into a digital services giant and reduce its dependence on revenue from oil refining and petrochemicals.

"Through this investment, we are excited to help fuel digital transformation in India, where Intel maintains an important presence," Wendell Brooks, Intel Capital president, said in the statement.

Morgan Stanley acted as financial adviser to Reliance Industries.

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Mr Ambani's digital unit has sold about 25 per cent in stakes and has said it paid net debt down to zero earlier than the March 2021 target it set last year. Jio is expected to use its roughly 400 million wireless phone subscribers as the cornerstone of an e-commerce and digital services business.

The slew of stake sales have helped Reliance Industries shares double since late March, and the stock traded at a record high on Friday.

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