Data sharing is not the purpose of the arrangement, Facebook told the Competition Commission of India.

A collage of Mukesh Ambani and Mark Zuckerberg L to R
Money Data Wednesday, October 07, 2020 - 18:00

Facebook has told the Competition Commission of India that its data sharing with Jio Platforms will be limited to e-commerce transactions, according to filings. In June, the CCI approved the acquisition of 9.99% stake in Jio Platforms by Facebook’s entity Jaadhu Holdings LLC. In its order, made public on Tuesday, Jaadhu’s responses said that data sharing is not the purpose of the deal. 

“It is clarified that data sharing is NOT the purpose of the Proposed Commercial Arrangement, nor will either side be acquiring ownership of the other’s data pursuant to the Proposed Commercial Arrangement,” Jaadhu said. 

Data that will be shared and received “only for the purpose of facilitating e-commerce transactions on JioMart. Its use is limited, proportionate and solely for the purpose of implementing the Proposed Commercial Arrangement,” it said. 

“This data is neither exclusionary, inimitable nor rare and substitutes exist,” Jaadhu told CCI. It added that it will be “processed in accordance with applicable law and parties’ data policies”.

CCI was reviewing Facebook's acquisition of a 9.99% stake in Jio Platform for $5.7 billion in cash. The deal made Facebook the largest minority shareholder in Jio.

In its order, the CCI observed that Reliance Jio is a prominent telecommunications player with a third of all wireless subscribers, and Facebook is the second leading player in the online advertisement space and the leading player in online display advertisement services. 

“The user data possessed by Jio Platforms including RJIO and Facebook Group are complementary to each other given the symbiotic interface between telecommunication business and OTT content/ application users. Thus, any anti-competitive conduct resulting from any data sharing in the future could be taken up by the Commission under Sections 3 and/or 4 of the Act having due regard to the dynamics of the concerned markets and position of the parties therein,” the Commission said. 

Facebook, in its application to the CCI, had argued that the deal does not alter the competitive landscape in any relevant market. 

Facebook's investment in Jio Platforms was part of a series of investments made by global tech investors and private equity funds in the RIL digital arm. 

Mukesh Ambani, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Chairman and Managing Director, had said in a letter to the shareholders in the RIL annual report that with Facebook, the strategic focus of the partnership is India's Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), farmers, small merchants and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the informal sector.

Jio Platforms raised Rs 1.52 lakh crore through investments by tech investors in Jio Platforms. 

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