Google to approach CCI for approval on Rs 33,737-cr deal with Jio Platforms
Tech giant Google will approach the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to seek approval for its Rs 33,737-crore investment in Jio Platforms for a 7.73 per cent stake, according to sources.Google plans to approach the CCI for approval on the deal in the next two weeks, according to the sources privy to the development. When contacted, Google and Reliance Jio did not comment on the matter.The deal, which was announced on July 15 at Reliance Industries’ annual general meeting, will see Google pick up 7.73 per cent stake in RIL’s technology venture Jio Platforms for Rs 33,737 crore. The partnership will also see the two parties cooperate on technology initiatives, including development of affordable smartphones.California-based Alphabet Inc (parent company of Google) joined Facebook Inc, which opened the investment cycle in Jio Platforms by picking 9.99 per cent stake for Rs 43,573.62 crore.Last month, Facebook received CCI approval on its transaction that was carried out through a wholly-owned indirect subsidiary, Jaadhu Holdings LLC.Reliance has sold a 32.8 per cent stake in Jio Platforms Ltd — the unit that houses India’s youngest but largest telecom firm Jio Infocomm and apps — to 13 marquee firms including chipmaker Intel Corp and Qualcomm Inc, for over Rs 1.52 lakh crore. Jio Platforms, which is also amassing a wide range of services from music streaming to online retail and payments, is expected to use its 388 million mobile phone subscribers as the cornerstone of an e-commerce and digital services business to rival Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart. Google and Jio are partnering to build an operating system that could power affordable 4G and 5G smartphones. Also, JioMart, online shopping portal, and WhatsApp will be working closely to enable customers to seamlessly transact at mom-and-pop stores. Commenting on the partnership with Jio, Google CEO Sundar Pichai had said: “Through this partnership with Jio Platforms, we see the chance to have an even greater impact than either company could have alone. This partnership is a key part of the next chapter of investment in India… Our investment of $4.5 billion in Jio is the first — and the biggest — investment we will make through this fund (of $10 billion announced on July 13).” On July 13, Google announced its ‘Google for India Digitisation Fund’, wherein it will invest Rs 75,000 crore (about $10 billion) to accelerate India’s digital economy over the next 5-7 years.