Report: Oil-to-Telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries Offers Amazon $20 Billion Stake in Retail Arm

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Mukesh Ambani
  • Reliance Industries Ltd. is offering to sell a roughly $20 billion (Rs 1.46 lakh crores) stake in its retail business to Amazon Inc.
  • The news follows a $1 billion (roughly Rs 7337 crores) investment announced Wednesday by Silver Lake Partners in Reliance Retail.
  • At $20 billion, the deal would be the biggest ever in India as well as for Amazon.
  • Shares in Reliance Industries were up 6.2% in today’s midday trading in Mumbai after hitting a record intraday high.

Mumbai-based Reliance Industries Ltd. is offering to sell a roughly $20 billion (Rs 1.46 lakh crores) stake in its retail business to Amazon Inc., Bloomberg News reported on Thursday, citing one unnamed person with knowledge of the matter.

Reliance Industries is willing to sell as much as a 40% stake in the subsidiary to Amazon. Amazon has held talks about investing in Reliance Retail and expressed interest in negotiating potential deals, according to the report.

The news follows a $1 billion (roughly Rs 7337 crores) investment announced Wednesday by Silver Lake Partners in Reliance Retail, while U.S. private equity firm KKR & Co. is in advanced talks to invest at least $1 billion, and L Catterton is also considering investing, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday.

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Both Amazon Reliance declined to comment on the matter.

The deal, if successful will turn Jeff Bezos and Asia’s richest man from rivals into allies in one of the fastest-growing consumer markets in the world. At $20 billion, the deal would be the biggest ever in India as well as for Amazon. The deal would create an e-commerce giant for India akin to China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

“As a policy, we do not comment on media speculation and rumors. Our company evaluates various opportunities on an ongoing basis. We have made and will continue to make necessary disclosures in compliance with our obligations,” a Reliance spokesman said in an emailed response to Bloomberg News.

Earlier, Mukesh Ambani raised $20 billion selling stakes in his technology venture, Jio Platforms Ltd., to investors including Facebook Inc. and Google. Now Mr. Ambani is turning his focus towards the retail sector hoping to take a dominant position as the country’s huge consumer market comes of age. In a recent deal Reliance Retail also acquired rival Future Group’s retail arm.

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Shares in Reliance Industries were up 6.2% in today’s midday trading in Mumbai after hitting a record intraday high. The company earlier on Thursday became the first listed Indian firm to cross $200 billion in market capitalization.

Reliance Retail runs supermarkets, India’s largest consumer electronics chain store, fast-fashion outlets, and an online grocery store called JioMart. It reported 1.63 trillion rupees ($22 billion) in revenue in the year through March 2020. The unit operates almost 12,000 stores in nearly 7,000 towns.

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