Amazon may join its global rivals Google and Facebook in backing one of Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s ventures. The American e-commerce giant is in preliminary talks to acquire a 9.9% stake in Reliance Retail local TV news channel ET Now reported on Thursday. Amazon wants a preferred, strategic stake in Reliance Retail for JioMart, the report added. However, the value of this deal remains unknown. The reports bring a deja vu to April when Facebook picked up a 9.9% stake in Reliance Jio and the company went on to raise approx $20.2 Bn between April and July.
Reliance Retail, founded in 2006, is the largest retail chain in India. It serves over 3.5 million customers each week through its nearly 10,000 physical stores in more than 6,500 cities and towns in the country.
Though Ambani did not mention any elaborate platform for fundraising through Reliance Retail, Morgan Stanley, which served as the financial advisor to Reliance Industries for Jio Platforms’ deals, recently valued Reliance Retail at about $29 Bn.
Sources say the synergies between Amazon and Reliance Retail are obvious, and what Amazon wants, in particular, is preferential and strategic access to JioMart, the e-commerce venture of Reliance’s retail arm, launched in May.
JioMart charges no additional delivery fee from consumers and is enlisting inventories from the Kirana stores. Sources say this is exactly what Amazon wants to access, particularly for the same-day deliveries of Amazon Fresh Fresh and Amazon Pantry. According to Morgan Stanley, Reliance Retail is worth $29bn today and projects JioMart to account for 15% of Reliance Retail’s sales by 2023.