RIL may buy Future Group for 27k crore

RIL may buy Future Group for 27k crore
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Billionaire Mukesh Ambani seeking to strengthen his hand in retail sector

Bengaluru: Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Ltd will pay between Rs 24,000 crore and Rs 27,000 crore to buy the Indian retail chains owned by Future Group, a media report said on Tuesday, citing two sources familiar with details of the deal.

Asia's richest man, Ambani, has been buoyed by investments close to $20 billion from backers including Google and Facebook in his oil-to-telecoms conglomerate, and is seeking to strengthen his hand in India's huge retail sector.

Reliance's existing retail operation already runs close to 12,000 stores, including a cash-and-carry wholesale business, in over 6,700 Indian towns and cities. Owned by India's 'father of modern retailing', Kishore Biyani, Future Group is home to supermarket chain Big Bazaar, upmarket food stores FoodHall, and bargain clothing chain Brand Factory.

A series of media reports have said the two were nearing agreement on the deal.

The latest report cited its sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, as saying the sale value included Future Group's liabilities. Five listed entities, including Future Retail Ltd, will be merged into Future Enterprises Ltd (FEL) before the sale to one of the retail subsidiaries of Reliance.

In May, Reliance launched JioMart, an online grocery service in a move aimed at rivaling Amazon.com's local unit and Walmart Inc's Flipkart in the huge Indian market. Ambani plans to list Reliance's digital and retail units over the next five years.

Future Group did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the deal value. A Reliance Industries spokesperson said the company evaluates various opportunities on an ongoing basis.

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