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Future Group in advance talks with RIL to sell stake in Future Retail, other units: Report

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The Future Group is in advance talks with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries to sell stakes in Future Retail and some other units, according to industry sources.
According to a PTI report: The Kishore Biyani-led group, which already has a partnership with e-commerce giant Amazon, and Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) had initiated talks in this regard some times back, they said.
“Talks are going on and are in advance stages between the parties, but nothing has been finalised so far,” a person privy to the development said.
Earlier, the Future Group was also exploring stake sale opportunities in Future Retail with PremjiInvest, the family investment arm of Wipro Chairman Azim Premji, and private equity firm Samara Capital.
Stating that the Future Group was in talks with PremjiInvest and Samara Capital for stake sale in Future Retail, he said the negotiations with RIL also include other retail units.
When contacted by PTI, the Future Group declined to comment on the development.
While a Reliance Industries spokesperson said: “As a policy, we do not comment on media speculation and rumours”, adding that the company “evaluates various opportunities on an ongoing basis”.
If any deal is finalised, then it would be a breather for the Future Group, as promoter Kishore Biyani had defaulted on loans in March.
Various rating agencies like Standard & Poor’s and Fitch downgraded credit ratings of Future Retail after the default and invocation of pledged shares by lenders.
The promoters and promoter group held 40.31 percent stake in Future Retail as on March 31, 2020.
Future Retail operates 1,500 retail stores that cover over 16 million square feet of retail space in 400 cities. It has large format stores, Big Bazaar, its flagship chain, besides small store neighbourhood retail chains, EasyDay Club and Heritage Fresh.
On the other hand, Reliance Retail operates a network of 11,784 stores covering 28.7 million square feet and reported a revenue of Rs 38,211 crore in the January-March quarter.
PremjiInvest owns an about 6 percent stake in Future Retail, while Amazon has around 3.6 percent.
Earlier this year, the Future Group had forged partnership with e-commerce major Amazon, as they sought to expand their reach by leveraging each other’s networks.

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