New Delhi: Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is reportedly concluding a deal which would see it acquire a controlling stake in the Future Group of Kishore Biyani. The change would provide RIL with the much-needed momentum to become the number one physical retail player across segments such as grocery stores, apparel and general merchandise.
Future Retail has approximately 1,388 stores across various formats, including Big Bazaar, Fashion at Big Bazaar (FBB), ezone, and Foodhall, according to reports from several research firms.
At least three major entities promoted by Biyani—Future Retail, Future Lifestyle Fashions and Future Supply Chain Solutions—would be merged, and the complete business will then be taken over by the oil-to-retail-to-telecom behemoth.
Negotiations between RIL and the Future Group are reported to have reached a decisive stage and RIL wants to sign an agreement before the next AGM on 15 July. However, both the companies are deliberating on the deal’s finer points. Talks for the deal began earlier this year as a default on loan repayment by one of Biyani’s holding companies, a individual aware of the matter told TOI.
Earlier several news reports reported that Biyani — once India’s retail sector’s poster boy — was in discussion with other potential investors, including Premji Invest and Samara Capital, along with Jeff Bezos’Amazon, along with RIL.
Big businesses, including online shopping giant Amazon, had earlier shown interest in Future Group. “It is likely to be a complex transaction as, first, the Future Group will announce a scheme to merge into one company. RIL is most likely to fully purchase this combined entity in exchange for its shares, “one of the knowledgeable sources told the daily.