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The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved Facebook Inc.’s acquisition of a 9.99% stake in Jio Platforms Ltd, a deal that secures a foothold for the social media giant in one of the world’s fastest-growing internet markets.

In a tweet, the regulator said, “CCI approves acquisition of 9.99% stake in Jio Platforms by Jaadhu Holdings LLC." According to a submission made to CCI, Jaadhu Holdings is an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Facebook.

“Jaadhu is a newly incorporated company formed in March 2020 under the laws of the State of Delaware, US...Jaadhu is not engaged in any business in India or anywhere in the world," it said.

In its application to CCI, Facebook said the deal does not alter the competitive landscape in any relevant market. Regulatory filings show Facebook and its unit, WhatsApp Inc., have proposed to set up a digital marketplace as part of the investment in Jio Platforms, which houses the digital assets of Reliance Industries Ltd.

Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd now commands 32% of India’s telecom market with 1.15 billion mobile connections. While reviewing the deal, CCI also considered whether new parameters should be included in its assessment criteria. Peculiarities such as “strong network effects, high returns to scale and access to huge amount of data may incentivize digital firms to engage in anti-competitive conduct," a Bloomberg report said last week, quoting CCI chairman Ashok Kumar Gupta, without referring to any particular case.

Facebook’s $5.7 billion investment is the biggest among a string of investments totalling $13.7 billion in the firm controlled by Mukesh Ambani. Approval of the deal will help Asia’s richest tycoon stick to his debt reduction plan and create a formidable homegrown digital force that can take on the likes of Amazon.com Inc. in India.

India, with its 1.3 billion population, is one of the world’s fastest growing online markets, where firms such as Amazon and Google are vying for dominance.

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