India’s antitrust watchdog has given its blessing to Facebook and Reliance Jio Platforms for their $5.7 billion deal.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Competition Commission of India said it had approved Facebook’s proposed multi-billion-dollar investment in Jio Platforms for a 9.99% stake in the top Indian telecom network.
Jaadhu Holdings LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Facebook, is acquiring the stake in Jio Platforms. Facebook created this subsidiary earlier this year.
The announcement comes a week after the watchdog said it was accessing the deal for potential misuse of users’ data and pondering if it should consider amending the current rules for some mergers and acquisitions in the country.
At the time, Facebook had argued that its investment in the Indian firm is “pro-competitive, benefits consumers, kirana stores (neighborhood stores) and other small and micro local Indian businesses, and takes forward the vision of digital India.”
Jio Platforms, run by India’s most valued firm Reliance Industries, is the biggest telecom operator in India with more than 388 million subscribers. The telco has raised $15.2 billion (at the height of the global pandemic) from a roster of high-profile investors, including Silver Lake, KKR and General Atlantic.
Analysts have said that Facebook’s investment in billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Platforms, its biggest investment in recent years, could help the social media giant expand its reach in India, which is already its biggest market by user count.
Facebook’s eponymous service reaches about 350 million users in India, while its messaging service WhatsApp has amassed over 400 million users. WhatsApp is by far the most popular service in the world’s second largest market.