Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Future Retail Buyout Withdrawn
Reliance Industries, headed by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, has canceled its planned purchase of Future Retail, putting an end to the company’s protracted struggle with Amazon for ownership of the Indian supermarket chain.
Reliance backed out of its 247.1 billion rupees ($3.2 billion) bid for Future Retail after secured creditors rejected it although shareholders and unsecured creditors voted in support of the transaction. “As a result, the relevant scheme of arrangement cannot be executed,” Reliance stated Saturday in a regulatory filing.
Since August 2020, when Reliance revealed its agreement to purchase Future Retail’s shops and warehouses, the Indian giant and billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Amazon have been at odds. Amazon, which argued that the Reliance acquisition breached a 2019 agreement with another Future Group firm, seeks to extend its brick-and-mortar presence in India by acquiring Future’s Big Bazaar shops. Amazon purchased 49 percent of Future Coupons in 2019 to develop a presence in India’s retail business. Future Coupons is a payments provider that sells gift cards and other merchandise. Amazon was later selected as the exclusive e-commerce partner for many Future Group companies.
However, Future Group decided to sell its retail and wholesale businesses the next year, in August 2020, to competitor Reliance. Future is necessary for Reliance to speed the growth of its JioMart operation, which provides everyday basics via a wide network of mom-and-pop stores.
Mukesh Ambani, India’s second-richest individual with a net worth of $103.4 billion, leads Reliance. The conglomerate—which has operations in petrochemicals, oil and gas, telecommunications, and retail—was formed in 1966 as a tiny textile factory by late father Dhirubhai Ambani, a yarn merchant. Mukesh Ambani and his younger brother Anil divided the family empire after their father’s 2002 death.