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Carlyle, SoftBank put on waiting list for Reliance Retail stake: Report

Reliance Industries plans to sell about a 10% stake in Reliance Retail to financial investors and almost all the $5.7 billion worth of shares have been taken up

Reliance Retail | Carlyle | SoftBank

Baiju Kalesh P R Sanjai & Mahmoud Habboush | Bloomberg 

Investor demand for Reliance Industries Ltd’s retail business is so strong that Group Inc and Group Corp are among those that have been put onto a waiting list, according to people familiar with the matter.

and have recently expressed interest in investing in Mukesh Ambani’s Ventures Ltd, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. Reliance Industries has asked the two to wait on the sideline since the Indian conglomerate is already in advanced talks with other financial investors, the people said.

Ambani is tapping the backers of his digital services business, which has secured $20 billion in recent months, as he seeks funding for Silver Lake Partners, an investor in Jio Platforms Ltd, last week agreed to chip in $1 billion. Other Jio investors, including private equity funds KKR & Co and L Catterton, are also considering investing, Bloomberg has reported.

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co, which is a Jio investor as well, is weighing an investment of about $750 million in Reliance Retail, the people said. Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund are also mulling investments, one of the people said.

The strong response from Jio’s financial investors means there’s not enough for others. Reliance Industries plans to sell about a 10% stake in to financial investors and almost all the $5.7 billion worth of shares have been taken up, the people said.

The largest allocation is reserved for Inc., Bloomberg reported last week. Ambani is offering to sell a roughly $20 billion stake in the retail business to the U.S. tech giant, which could be equivalent to as much as a 40% holding. A deal, if successful, would be the biggest ever in India as well as for Amazon, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Potential investors including and could still get their hands on Reliance Retail shares should others cut their commitments, the people said. Negotiations are ongoing and could still be delayed or fall apart, the people said.

Representatives for Reliance, Carlyle, SoftBank, ADIA and Mubadala declined to comment, while a representatives for PIF didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ambani has identified technology and retail as future growth areas in a pivot away from the energy businesses he inherited from his father, who died in 2002. Retail is the next frontier for the 63-year-old Indian tycoon, whose ambitions include creating a home-grown e-commerce giant like China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

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First Published: Mon, September 14 2020. 16:06 IST