Reliance Industries to acquire majority stake in VC-backed Embibe
The country’s biggest private sector company Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) will invest $180 million (Rs 1,175 crore) in ed-tech startup Embibe, as the private sector giant bets on digital businesses after quickly ramping up its data-led telecom unit.
The energy-to-retail conglomerate plans to acquire a 72.69% stake in Bengaluru-based Embibe from existing investors including venture capital firms Kalaari Capital and Lightbox Ventures, the company said in a stock-exchange filing.
The planned investment will be spread over three years and includes the sum to be paid for acquiring the majority stake from Embibe’s existing investors, RIL said.
RIL, owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, derives a majority of its revenue from its refining and petrochemicals business and also operates a large retail chain. It launched its Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd unit in late 2016 and threw the telecom industry into turmoil with cut-throat data tariffs.
RIL has, of late, sharpened its focus on media content and data-driven businesses that gel with its telecom arm. Last month, RIL said it would merge music streaming service JioMusic with rival Saavn and that the combined entity would be valued at $1 billion (Rs 6,500 crore). RIL will also invest around $100 million to expand the platform.
In a related development, RIL’s retail unit last month picked up a 16% stake in a US-based firm that provides the operating system for its internet-enabled mobile handset Jio Phone.
The deal for Embibe has potential synergies with RIL’s digital services initiatives and investments. “RIL aims to connect over 1.9 million schools and 58,000 universities across India with technology,” said Akash Ambani, director at Reliance Jio.