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Published September 14, 2020
Published September 14, 2020
Tarun Dhiman via Unsplash

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Limited, India’s largest retailer, announced that its unit Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (RRVL) has acquired Future Group, the number-two brick-and-mortar retailer in the market, for $3.4 billion.

WHO: Kishore Biyani, Future Group founder and CEO, started his entrepreneurial journey as a stonewashed-fabric seller in the 1980s. Future Group has 2,000 retail stores across the group’s Big Bazaar, FBB, Easyday, Central, Foodhall formats, covering over 24 million square feet of space in over 400 cities and towns. The portfolio composition is in apparel, general merchandise, and FMCG.

Founded in 2006, Reliance Retail, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, has adopted a multi-prong strategy and operates a chain of neighborhood stores, supermarkets, wholesale cash & carry stores, specialty stores, and online stores, and has democratized access to a variety of products and services across diverse segments for Indian consumers.

WHY: The deal means Reliance Retail will command one-third of the brick-and-mortar stores of India’s modern retail sector and could help with its deep discounting strategy for JioMart, the e-commerce venture launched two months ago that competes with Amazon and Flipkart.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “With this transaction, we are pleased to provide a home to the renowned formats and brands of Future Group as well as preserve its business ecosystem, which have played an important role in the evolution of modern retail in India,” said Ambani’s daughter Isha, who serves as a director at Reliance Retail, in a statement.

“We hope to continue the growth momentum of the retail industry with our unique model of active collaboration with small merchants and kiranas as well as large consumer brands. We are committed to continue providing value to our consumers across the country,” she added.

The acquisition complements and makes a strong strategic fit into Reliance’s retail business, the Reliance Retail Ventures release said. “This will help Reliance Retail to accelerate providing support to millions of small merchants in increasing their competitiveness and enhance their income during these challenging times.”

“As a result of this reorganization and transaction, Future Group will achieve a holistic solution to the challenges that have been caused by COVID and the macroeconomic environment. This transaction takes into account the interest of all its stakeholders including lenders, shareholders, creditors, suppliers, and employees, giving continuity to all its businesses,” said Kishore Biyani, Group CEO, Future Group.

“We are pleased that our strong retail franchise and brands, that we have created over time, are going in stronger hands and will continue to grow and delight Indian shoppers,” added Biyani.


  • Reliance Retail to acquire Future Group’s retail and wholesaler business, along with its logistics and warehousing business, for $3.4 billion.
  • Reliance specified that the acquisition is being done as part of the scheme in which Future Group is merging certain companies carrying on the aforesaid businesses into Future Enterprises Limited (FEL).
  • The retail and wholesale is being transferred to Reliance Retail and Fashion Lifestyle Limited (RRFLL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of RRVL.
  • The logistics and warehousing undertaking is being transferred to Reliance Retail Ventures Limited.
  • RRFLL also proposes to invest 1,200 crore Indian rupees in the preferential issue of equity shares of FEL to buy 6.09 percent of post-merger equity and 400 crore Indian rupees in a preferential issue of equity warrants which, upon conversion and payment of balance 75 percent of the issue price, will result in RRFLL acquiring further 7.05 percent of FEL.
  • In August 2019, Amazon bought stakes in Future Retail’s Future Coupons, which effectively gave it a 3.58% stake in the retail chain group’s India business. According to reports, Amazon was in talks to increase its stake.
  • Mukesh Ambani, who controls Reliance Industries (of which Reliance Retail is a subsidiary), has secured about $20 billion from Facebook, Google, and 11 other high-profile investors for his telecom venture Jio Platforms this year.
  • Ambani is focused on transforming his conglomerate into a consumer services giant and reduce dependence on revenue from its traditional businesses of petrochemicals and oil refining.
  • Kishore Biyani and his family members are not allowed to re-enter the retail segment for the coming 15 years as part of a noncompete clause.

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