The Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director, Mr. Mukesh Ambani, is again the richest man in Asia, owing to the recent deal with Mr. Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Inc.
The social media behemoth has agreed to pump in $5.7 billion or Rs 43,574 crore for a 9.99 per cent stake in Jio Platforms—a unit of Reliance Industries.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the Indian billionaire has toppled Jack Ma, the founder of e-commerce major Alibaba Group, to get the top spot in Asia. Mr. Ambani’s fortune surged about 4.7 billion dollars to 49.2 billion on Wednesday (April 23), after Reliance Industries gained 10 per cent. The jump placed Mr. Ambani's net worth about $3.2 billion ahead of M. Ma. The Chinese tycoon’s current net worth amounts to 46.0 billion dollars.
Globally, Mr. Ambani is the 17th richest man two ranks ahead of Mr. Ma who is at the 19th spot. Shares of Reliance Industries (RIL) on Wednesday recorded a jump of 10 per cent as it settled at Rs 1,363.35 apiece on the BSE.
Before Wednesday's surge, Mr. Ambani had dropped by 14 billion dollars on the billionaires' index this year—the biggest decline in dollar terms for anyone in Asia. In early March, Mr. Ma had toppled Mr. Ambani to become Asia's richest person due to a historic fall in global crude oil prices and massive correction in Indian stock markets.
'At the core of our partnership is the commitment that Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, and I share for the all-round digital transformation of India and for serving all Indians… In the post-corona era, I am confident of India’s economic recovery and resurgence in the shortest period of time,' Mr. Ambani said in the statement.
'The partnership will surely make an important contribution to this transformation ... WhatsApp in particular, has entered our people’s daily vocabulary in all the 23 official languages of India,' he added.
Many analysts are of the view that the deal with Facebook will help the oil-to-telecom conglomerate to be become net debt-free by March 2021. It is worth mentioning here is that the social media giant’s infusion of Rs 43,574 crore in Jio platforms is the largest foreign direct investment (FDI) minority investment in India.
In August 2019, Mr. Ambani had said in the annual general meeting that the company hopes to become net debt-free by March 2021. RIL had a net debt of Rs 1.53 lakh crore during the December quarter of 2019.