Reliance offers Amazon $20 billion stake in retail arm

Reliance is now 'net-debt free', on road to IPO for digital, retail units
Chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Mukesh Ambani. File photo: AFP

Bengaluru: Reliance Industries is offering to sell a roughly $20 billion stake in its retail arm to Inc, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday, citing one unnamed person with knowledge of the matter.

The oil-to-telecoms conglomerate led by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, which has already raised $20 billion in this year from investors including Facebook and Google, is willing to sell an up to 40 percent stake in the retail business to Amazon, the agency reported.

Neither Amazon nor Reliance responded to Reuters requests for comment.

Asia's richest man, Ambani is turning his focus toward retail after successfully building India's top telecom network by customers in less than four years, hoping to take a dominant position as India's huge consumer market comes of age.

Amazon has held talks about investing in Reliance Retail and expressed interest in negotiating potential deals but has made no decision, Bloomberg's report said.

Reliance Retail, with close to 12,000 stores selling a wide range of products, acquired rival Future Group's retail arm last month and on Wednesday announced a $1 billion investment from Silver Lake Partners.

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Shares in Reliance were up 6.2 percent in midday trading in Mumbai after hitting a record intraday high. The company earlier on Thursday became the first listed Indian firm to cross $200 billion in market capitalisation.

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