Future Group in discussions with Amazon, Alibaba
Future Group’s Kishore Biyani has entered into talks with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos about the possibility of seeking investment from the American e-commerce giant. However, Biyani has also visited China to speak with Alibaba officials about the same. The idea for Future Group is to bring a strategic investor into the company to aid in their India growth strategy and, due to the current size of Future Group, Amazon and Alibaba are some of the few businesses large enough to be up to the task.
“Future Group is planning to bring a strategic investor into the company while Amazon is keen to have a strong omnichannel presence in India, especially in its nascent grocery retailing segment,” sources told India's Economic Times. “Both founders met at Amazon's Seattle headquarters and discussed the Indian retail market and how both can partner to have a win-win strategy.”
Although India does not allow investment from overseas in multi brand domestic businesses, there is the possibility of investing in a retail company through its investment arm registered as a foreign portfolio investor (FPI).
According to Indian law, FPIs can acquire up to ten percent in an Indian entity as a single firm and the Indian company can dilute up to a 49 percent stake to multiple FPIs. Amazon recently did this to acquire a five percent stake in the e-commerce store Shoppers Stop therefore it would be possible for them, or indeed Alibaba, to invest in Future Group through the same route.
Amazon has committed to spend around five billion US dollars in India which has led some analysts to believe that a Future Group deal is definitely a possibility.
Future Group currently operates 930 outlets in India and controls nearly a third of the country’s organised food and grocery market as well as having a significant presence in the fashion and apparel market and so, if a deal is made, it will be big news for Indian retail.
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