The clash between Ambani and Bezos in India may just be a waiting game

Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg

A vanilla commercial dispute is setting the stage for a clash between the world’s No. 1 and No. 6 richest men. But the legal wrangling is a sideshow. What Jeff Bezos and Mukesh Ambani are really fighting over is pole position in the only billion-plus-people consumer market available to both of them: India.

The ostensible battleground is a $3.4 billion deal Indian tycoon Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. stitched up in August to acquire the assets of debt-laden local retailer Future Group. Bezos’s Amazon.com Inc. is trying to block the transaction.

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