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Social networking giant Facebook is reportedly in talks to acquire a stake in Mukesh Ambani-led telecom operator, Reliance Jio Infocomm.

According to a report by The Financial Times, Facebook is in talks to acquire a 10% stake in Reliance Jio, a three-and-a-half-year-old subsidiary of India’s most valued firm Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), which is valued at more than $60 billion by Analysts at Bernstein.

The report, which cited two people privy to the developments, said that Facebook was close to an initial agreement to pick up a 10% stake but discussions hadn’t moved forward on account of the global disruption following the coronavirus outbreak.

The FT report also said that in addition to Facebook, Google was also in talks to acquire stake in Jio.

The acquisition deal, if materialize, would help Mukesh Ambani accomplish his ambition of cutting parent company Reliance Industries Ltd’s (RIL) debt to zero by March 2021. In addition, RIL also reportedly aims to sell a 20% stake in its refining business to Saudi Aramco.

The international financial daily said that the lockdown may have an impact on the timing of the deal.

Reliance Industries (RIL) in October had announced to set up a new subsidiary to bring all its digital initiatives and apps under a single entity, and infuse Rs 1.08 lakh crore equity into this new unit.

Jio apps like JioTV, JioCinema, JioNews etc are to be brought under this new entity in a move to consolidate digital platforms into an elegant capital structure to increase the attractiveness and simplify the structure for possible strategic investors.

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On March 18, RIL took over some of the debt of Reliance Jio but the company neither disclosed financial details of the transaction nor the names of creditors.

In March last year, assets worth about Rs 1.25 lakh crore were demerged from RJIL to Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs) aimed at optimising operational efficiencies and better monetisation of core digital connectivity platform, tower and fibre passive infrastructure.

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