Billionaire Ambani Gets $855 Million From Abu Dhabi for Retail Venture

(Bloomberg) —

© Bloomberg Mukesh Ambani, billionaire and chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Ltd., pauses during a panel session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. World leaders, influential executives, bankers and policy makers attend the 47th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos from Jan. 17 – 20.

Mubadala Investment Co., the Abu Dhabi-based sovereign fund, will invest 62.5 billion rupees ($855 million) in Reliance Industries Ltd.’s retail unit, as billionaire Mukesh Ambani continues to enlist marquee backers after securing nearly $23 billion for his consumer businesses this year.

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Mubadala will buy a 1.4% stake in Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd., according to an exchange filing Thursday, valuing the business at 4.29 trillion rupees.

The transaction marks the latest investment in Reliance Retail, India’s largest retailer, following infusions by General Atlantic, KKR & Co. and Silver Lake Partners in September. It also reinforces investors’ belief in the ability of Asia’s richest man to tap growth in offline and online retail in India’s market of billion-plus consumers.

DateBuyerStakeInvestment

Oct. 1 Mubadala Investment Co. 1.4% $855 million
Sept. 30 Silver Lake co-investors 0.38% $254 million
Sept. 30 General Atlantic 0.84% $498 million
Sept. 23 KKR & Co. 1.28% $754 million
Sept. 9 Silver Lake Partners 1.75% $1 billion

In his pivot toward technology and retail — away from the group’s staple oil-refining business — Ambani, 63, has raised more than $20 billion by selling stakes in Jio Platforms Ltd., his digital services unit. Investors including Facebook Inc. and Google bought a combined 33% in that venture this year.

Reliance has offered a $20 billion stake in its retail unit to Amazon.com Inc., a person familiar with the matter said in September. Some investors, including Carlyle Group Inc. and SoftBank Group Corp., have been put on a waitlist as demand is too strong to accommodate all, people familiar with the matter said separately.

Carlyle, SoftBank Said to Be on Waitlist for Reliance Retail

Reliance Retail runs supermarkets, India’s largest consumer electronics chain, a cash-and-carry wholesaler, fast-fashion outlets and an online grocery store called JioMart. It reported 1.63 trillion rupees in revenue in the year through March 2020. The unit operates almost 12,000 stores in nearly 7,000 towns.

The spate of stake sales has pushed Reliance Industries’ shares up by 48% this year and boosted Ambani’s net worth by $26.9 billion, making him the world’s fifth-richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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