Office Depot in India; signs 51:49 JV with Reliance

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The Florida-based office stationery retailer Office Depot Inc. (OPD) has signed a 51:49 joint venture with the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Retail in India.

In an exclusive revelation to Indiaretailing, Marisa Bluestone, Office Depot spokesperson from the United States, confirmed the news saying, “Yes, we have partnered Reliance Retail in India and shall hold majority stake of 51 per cent, while the rest 49 per cent remains with Reliance.”

Sreenivas Nagappa, the country manager for Office Depot India, confirmed the news as well. Indiaretailing’s conference call with Nagappa and Office Depot officials was pending till the filing of this report.

According to the joint venture, both the companies have jointly acquired eOfficePlanet, one of the largest dealers of office products and services to corporate customers in India.

Charles Brown, president of Office Depot’s International Division, said, “The joint venture with Reliance and strategic acquisition of eOfficePlanet will put Office Depot in a leadership position in India.”

Commenting on the JV, Bijou Kurien, president and CEO of Lifestyle Retail, RRL said,
“Reliance Retail has embarked on an ambitious plan to transform the retail market in India. Our partnership with Office Depot reflects a powerful combination of category-leading expertise and global sourcing capabilities of Office Depot with the immense distribution reach and deep customer understanding that Reliance Retail has achieved.”

Nagappa will be based in eOfficePlanet’s Mumbai headquarters and Shyam Barilits-Gupta, who currently serves as CEO of eOfficePlanet, will continue as part of the management team within eOfficePlanet.

– Ranjan Kaplish

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