In March, we reported on speculation that Facebook was in negotiations to buy a 10% stake in Indian telco Reliance Jio, the parent company of music streaming service JioSaavn. Now Facebook has confirmed that it has made a $5.7bn investment in the company, which will make the social network its largest minority shareholder.
Music wasn’t mentioned in the press release, and clearly this isn’t a strategic priority: the deal isn’t a way for Facebook to stealthily get into music streaming. Instead, it’s about connectivity in a market that Facebook – like so many other global digital services and media/entertainment companies – sees as hugely important.
“In just the past five years, more than 560 million people in India have gained access to the internet,” claimed Facebook. “Our goal is to enable new opportunities for businesses of all sizes, but especially for the more than 60 million small businesses across India… One focus of our collaboration with Jio will be creating new ways for people and businesses to operate more effectively in the growing digital economy.” Even so, it’ll be interesting to see if and how JioSaavn can work more closely with Facebook following the deal’s completion.