Mukesh Ambani’s $ 22 billion coup puts him in the top 10 richest people in the world
As Asia’s wealthiest man was finding himself on the sidelines after the outbreak of the Kovid-19 pandemic, Mukesh Ambani was busy scripting what can only be described as new unusual. Amid a tight nationwide lockdown in India, Ambani’s oil-to-telecom giant, Reliance Industries, raised more than $ 22 billion – just two months – to remain accurate for 58 days.
This fund-raising feat boosted investor confidence and Reliance shares, sending Ambani back into the ranks of the world’s top 10 richest billionaires after a nine-year hiatus. Now at No. 10 with total assets of $ 64.1 billion, Ambani has added $ 27.3 billion to his fortune after his March list of Forbes World Billionaires, where he was at No. 2 with $ 36.8 billion.
This is not Ambani’s first appearance in the top 10 richest people in the world. He first broke into that rare group in 2008, when he was at No.5 with $ 43 billion and remained in the top 10 for the next three years. In 2009, he was ranked No. 7, although his net worth fell to $ 19.5 billion after the 2008 financial crisis. In 2010, he had climbed to No. 4 with $ 29 billion, falling to No. 9 a year later with $ 27 billion amid global recovery. He dropped out of the top 10 in 2012, as others left him.
Ambani’s resurgence is more a way to keep pace with his oil and petrochemical giants in fast-growing new ventures in telecom and retail. “Mukesh has changed the face of Reliance from petrochemicals,” says fellow billionaire Harsh Goenka, president of RPG Group. “During a global pandemic global investors are flirting to take a piece of Jio, nothing short of incredible.”
Two-thirds of the funds in excess of $ 22 billion were raised by some 25% stake in Reliance’s fast-growing telecom and broadband unit, Jio Platforms, to some of the world’s smartest investors. The group included billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, whose Facebook chose a 10% stake for $ 5.7 billion and Vista Equity Partners of private equity titan Robert Smith, which paid $ 1.5 billion for a 2.3% stake.
Last month, Ambani also successfully concluded a $ 7 billion rights issue of Reliance shares, the company’s first in three decades. The tycoon subscribed for more than half of that offering, a purchase that would cost him $ 3.6 billion. Investors seem to agree with Ambani’s personal vote in Reliance’s future growth — the company’s shares have risen by more than 80% in the past three months. (Revealed: Reliance Industries owns Network 18, which publishes Forbes India)
Sudeep Anand, head of institutional research at IDBI Capital Markets & Securities, said, “partly because of investors who have come to Reliance and also because Reliance has always made deliveries.”
Last August, Ambani announced that Reliance, which invested $ 46 billion to build Jio, would have zero net debt by March 2021. With net debt of $ 21.2 billion by March 2020, the company is set to achieve that goal once all. Funds come. Ambani’s agenda is to list retail businesses of both Jio and Reliance. That could possibly give him a chance to get a place in the top 5 richest people in the world.