Second Time's the Charm? US General Atlantic Invests Again in India's Reliance, Pouring in $498 Mln

© REUTERS / Amit DaveA bird flies past a Reliance Industries logo installed on its mart in Ahmedabad, India January 16, 2017
A bird flies past a Reliance Industries logo installed on its mart in Ahmedabad, India January 16, 2017 - Sputnik International
One of the world's richest men, business tycoon Mukesh Ambani heads India's most valued oil-to-telecom conglomerate, Reliance Industries. Reliance has defied the pandemic-ridden economic woes, attracting mega investments worth over $15 billion from companies like Facebook, Google, and several American private equity firms.

In bid to buy a 0.84 percent stake in Reliance’s retail arm, American private equity firm General Atlantic has decided to invest a significant $498 million in Reliance Retail. This marks General Atlantic’s second round of investments in Reliance, after it poured $894 million into Reliance’s telecom arm Jio earlier this year.

"…We work towards empowering both merchants and consumers alike, and ultimately transforming Indian retail. Like Reliance Retail, General Atlantic believes in the fundamental ability of digital enablement to drive progress, growth, and inclusion across India and the world", the 63-year old Indian biz wiz said in a statement on Wednesday. 

With Reliance Retail, the wealthy owner of the company, Mukesh Ambani, aims to empower India’s small and medium businesses (SMBs) digitally through his telecom network Jio, as he had mentioned earlier this year when Facebook invested $5.8 billion in the purchase of a 9.9 percent stake in Jio. 

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In recent weeks, Reliance Retail, which boasts 12,000 stores and around 640 million customers across India, has managed to rope in hefty investments amounting to over $1.7 billion from American equity firms – Silver Lake Partners and KKR & Co – both of which now own 1.75 percent and 1.28 percent stakes in Reliance Retail.

Speculation is rife that the retail arm of Reliance Industries may be getting a $1 billion investment from Abu Dhabi-based state fund Mubadala Investment Co., as both companies have reportedly entered the advanced discussion phase of the deal.

At the beginning of this year, Reliance Industries became India’s first and only company to cross a market capitalisation of $160 billion.

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