Jio friends Facebook, 4 others


AZB & Partners and Davis Polk & Wardwell advised Jio Platforms and its parent, Reliance Industries, when five big-ticket investors acquired stakes in the subsidiary for a total of about US$10 billion.

In the most recent transaction on 21 May, KKR signed an agreement for a 2.32% stake in Jio for US$1.5 billion.

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (SAM) and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett acted as legal counsel to KKR, which made the investment through Omicron Asia Holdings II.

Simpson Thacher’s team on the KKR deal included M&A partner Ian Ho, tax partner Nancy Mehlman and associate Joseph Tootle.

On 21 April, Facebook agreed on a US$5.7 billion investment – its largest to date and reportedly the largest foreign investment in the Indian tech sector to date – for a 9.9% stake in Jio, which it made through its subsidiary, Jaadhu Holdings.

A team from Hogan Lovells advised Facebook, led by the firm’s Silicon Valley corporate partners Jane Ross and Nate Gallon. The firm’s Washington DC-based global regulatory partners Beth Peters and Ajay Kuntamukkala advised on trade matters.

On 17 May, General Atlantic agreed to a US$870 million investment for a 1.34% stake. SAM and Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison advised General Atlantic. The Paul Weiss team included corporate partners Matthew Abbott and Neil Goldman, tax partner Lindsay Parks, and antitrust counsel Marta Kelly.

On 4 May, Silver Lake agreed on a US$750 million investment for a 1.5% stake in Jio, while on 8 May, Vista Equity Partners signed up for a US%1.5 billion investment for a 2.32% stake.

SAM and Kirkland & Ellis served as legal counsel to Vista Equity Partners. The Kirkland team was led by partners Stuart Casillas, Vlad Kroll, Nathan Davis, Srinivas Kaushik and Abhishek Kolay, and associates Ari Levi, Lesley Hamilton, Katherine Ackerman and Alex Dayneka-Hayes.

AZB’s team on all five deals included partners Ashwath Rau and Nilanjana Singh. Partner Bharat Budholia and senior associate Gaurav Bansal provided competition law expertise.

Davis Polk’s team for the KKR, Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners and General Atlantic deals comprised lawyers from its London office, including partner Jeffrey O’Brien and associates Alexander Simmonds, Ben Stewart, Fiona Tregeagle, Maxim Van de Moortel and Jordan Jacobs. Counsel Mary Marks provided antitrust expertise for the Silver Lake and Vista Equity Partners deals. Partner William Curran and counsel Alon Gurfinkel provided tax expertise for the Vista Equity Partners deal.

On the Facebook deal, Davis Polk’s team comprised corporate, intellectual property and technology lawyers from its London, New York and Northern California offices. It included partners Jeffrey O’Brien, Pritesh Shah and Alan Denenberg, counsel Matthew Bacal and associates Alexander Simmonds, Ben Stewart, Fiona Tregeagle, Maxim Van de moortel, Christopher Woller and Jordan Jacobs.

All five deals are subject to regulatory and other customary approvals. While information on dates for closing the deals was not available, the approximately US$10 billion reeled in is expected to further Jio’s vision to enable a digital India for the country’s 1.3 billion people, and Reliance’s plans to become a zero net-debt company by the end of March 2021.