Oil to retail conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is said to be in the race to acquire Debenhams, a British multinational retailer operating department stores in the United Kingdom with franchise stores in other countries, Sky News reported on Wednesday.
“Reliance Retail empire, which last year bought the world-famous British toy store Hamleys, is among a small number of parties in discussions with advisers to Debenhams about acquiring part or all of the 242-year-old retailer,” said Sky News in its report adding that people close to the process had indicated that the chain was keen to agree a takeover by the end of September, However, better-than-expected trading has relaxed the urgency of that timetable in recent weeks, they said.
An auction of Debenhams, has been in administration since April, with investment bankers at Lazard responsible for coordinating talks with potential buyers, Sky News said.
Ambani, the world’s fourth-richest man, is betting his company’s future on retail and digital platforms, reducing the emphasis of its mainstay chemicals and refining business. Last month, RIL acquired the retail and wholesale business and the logistics and warehousing business of rival Future Group for a cash consideration of ₹24,713 crore, expanding its reach in the country’s retail market. It is also expanding in the online space through its new commerce strategy through JioMart.
To give further fillip to its plans, Reliance Retail on Wednesday, said it has raised ₹5,550 crore by selling a 1.28% stake in its retail business to US private equity (PE) firm KKR and Co., as India’s most valuable company creates a war chest for its push into e-commerce.
The KKR investment values RRVL at an equity value of ₹4.21 trillion, RIL said. The PE firm had also bought a 2.32% stake in Jio Platforms for ₹11,367 crore. On 9 September, California-based PE fund Silver Lake picked up a 1.75% stake in RRVL for ₹7,500 crore.
This article was first published on livemint.com.