The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Friday approved the acquisition of India's fourth largest supermarket chain, Aditya Birla Retail Ltd (ABRL), by Witzig Advisory Services Private Ltd (WASPL), while simultaneously giving the go-ahead to an Amazon subsidiary to pick up a 49% stake in WASPL.
The fair trade regulator also approved a proposal by Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of US online retail giant Amazon, to acquire a 49 per cent stake in Witzig Advisory Services, a joint venture controlled by private equity firm Samara Capital.
The twin approvals by the country's anti-monopoly watchdog come within a month of the Centre tightening the norms for foreign direct investment (FDI) in e-commerce.
On December 26, 2018, the government banned the sale of goods produced by an entity in which an e-commerce venture has a stake, on its online platform. It also barred e-commerce venture from controlling inventory on its platforms.
ABRL is the retail arm of $44-billion Aditya Birla Group. The company is a player in the food and grocery retail sectors under the brand 'More' with two formats -- Supermarket and Hypermarkets -- as per its website.
Currently, it has 532 supermarkets and 20 hypermarkets across India.