India’s richest man is weighing an initial public offering
(IPO) of mobile operator Reliance Jio
Infocomm, people with knowledge of the matter said, after a $31-billion investment spree that roiled the country’s wireless market.
Reliance Industries, the conglomerate backed by tycoon Mukesh Ambani, is holding internal discussions about preparing to list Jio
as soon as late 2018 or early 2019, according to the people. Jio, which hasn’t made a profit since its official launch last year, is targeting to improve its financial performance before any share sale, the people said, asking not to be identified.
listing would cap a triumphant return to the Indian wireless market for Ambani, more than a decade after a family feud that led him to cede control of a previous telecom
venture to his younger brother. Jio, which is wholly owned by Reliance Industries, launched a free-for-life call service last year that triggered a price war and consolidation in one of the world’s most crowded mobile markets.
Bharti Airtel this year agreed to absorb Tata Group’s mobile phone business, while Vodafone Group and Idea Cellular announced they would merge their local operations to create the nation’s largest wireless operator. Despite being the newest entrant, Jio
has accumulated more than 138.6 million subscribers, making it the fourth-largest operator at the end of September, according to data from the telecom
Deliberations about a Jio
listing are at an early stage, and there’s no certainty they will lead to a transaction, the people said. However, a Reliance spokesperson said, “We would like to state that the news
is speculative and as a policy, we do not comment on media speculation and rumours.”
reported a net loss of $42 million in the quarter ended September 30, though the business made a profit before interest and taxes over the period. The wireless operator is “ahead of our schedule in terms of the returns” generated, Ambani said at a December 1 event in New Delhi. Bloomberg