Private Equity Group Silver Lake Eyes $1B Investment In India’s Reliance Retail

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Silver Lake is reportedly in talks to make a $1 billion investment in Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail at a valuation of about $57 billion, the Financial Times (FT) reported, as the investment group looks to get closer to India’s richest man.

Sources told FT that the investment comes as Reliance Retail is seeking to raise around $5.7 billion, selling 10 percent in new shares.

The interest in Ambani and his companies comes due to his growing stature as a ticket to India’s burgeoning digital and consumer market. He also owns Jio Platforms, a booming digital business, in which Silver Lake was the first U.S. company to invest after Facebook took a $5.7 billion stake in that company, and in which rival companies like KKR, Vista and General Atlantic also bought stakes.

All companies that invested in Jio, including Google and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala, a sovereign wealth fund, were also given a chance to invest in Reliance Retail.

Reliance Retail is controlled by Ambani’s holding company, Reliance Industries, and was founded in 2006 as a brick-and-mortar retail business selling groceries, electronics and more. Last year, Reliance bought British toy chain Hamleys and also operates Indian outlets of global brands like jeweler Tiffany, FT reported. Last week, Reliance also agreed to buy the retail and logistics arm of India’s second-largest retailer Future Group.

The deluge of investments into Jio earlier this year came as the company, which boasts 388 million subscribers, began to broaden its scope from regular mobile operations into more of a modern digital ecosystem, with a big swathe of the wireless market, music streaming and more.

Amazon was also in early talks to buy a 9.9 percent stake in Reliance Retail earlier this year. A spokesperson for Reliance wouldn’t confirm that in July, but Ambani had said the company was fielding strong interest from companies all over the world looking to buy stake in the company.

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