Google has become the latest high-profile firm to back India’s Reliance Jio Platforms. From a report: The search giant is investing $4.5 billion for a 7.73% stake in the top Indian telecom network, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani said on Wednesday. The investment today from Google is one of the rare instances when the Android-maker has joined its global rival Facebook in backing a firm. Facebook invested $5.7 billion in Reliance Jio Platforms, which has amassed more than 400 million subscribers in less than four years of its existence, in April this year for a 9.99% stake in it. Facebook is the largest minority stakeholder in Jio Platforms. Jio Platforms, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries (India’s most valued firm) has raised about $20.2 billion in the past four months from 13 investors by selling about 33% stake in the firm.
Google’s new investment gives Jio Platforms an equity valuation of $58 billion — the same valuation implied by Facebook. Other investors, including General Atlantic, Silver Lake, Qualcomm, Intel and Vista, have paid a 12.5% premium for their stake in Jio Platforms. As part of Wednesday’s strategic announcement, Google and Reliance Jio Platforms will work on a customized-version of Android operating system to develop low-cost, entry-level smartphones to serve the next hundreds of millions of users, said Ambani. These phones will support Google Play and future wireless standard 5G, he said.