Reliance Jio, Saavn to merge digital music services, new entity valued at $1 billion

A woman checks her mobile phone as she walks past a mobile store of Reliance Industries’ Jio telecom unit, in Mumbai.

In a deal led by Reliance Jio director Akash Ambani, Reliance Industries Ltd on Friday signed an agreement to combine its digital music service JioMusic with streaming app Saavn.

“We are delighted to announce this partnership with Saavn, and believe that their highly experienced management team will be instrumental in expanding Jio-Saavn to an extensive user base, thereby strengthening our leadership position in the Indian streaming market,” Akash Ambani said in statement jointly issued by the two companies. Akash Ambaniis the son of Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani.

“The combined entity is valued at over $1 billion, with JioMusic’s implied valuation at $670 million,” the statement said.

Reliance will also invest up to $100 million, out of which the rupee equivalent of $20 million will be invested upfront, for growth and expansion of the platform into one of the largest streaming services in the world.

“The integrated business will be developed into a media platform of the future with global reach, cross-border original content, an independent artist marketplace, consolidated data and one of the largest mobile advertising mediums,” the statement said.

As part of the deal, Reliance will be acquiring a partial stake from the existing shareholders of Saavn for $104 million. Investors in Saavn includes Tiger Global Management, Liberty Media and Bertelsmann among others.

The three co-founders of Saavn, Rishi Malhotra, Paramdeep Singh and Vinodh Bhat, will continue in their leadership roles and will drive growth of the combined entity.

“Nearly 10 years ago, we had a vision to build a connected music platform, dedicated to South Asian culture across the globe. Our alignment with Reliance enables us to create one of the largest, fastest-growing, and most capable media platforms in the world,” Savvn co-founder and CEO Rishi Malhotra said.

With a massive addressable market opportunity of over 1 billion users in India and globally, the combined entity plans to invest aggressively to accelerate growth that would benefit all aspects of the ecosystem, including users, music labels, artists and advertisers, the statement said.