The American e-commerce giant is in preliminary talks to acquire a 9.9% stake in Reliance Retail, local TV news channel ET Now reported Thursday afternoon, citing unnamed sources.
Reliance Retail, founded in 2006, is the largest retail chain in India. It serves over 3.5 million customers each week through its nearly 10,000 physical stores in more than 6,500 cities and towns in the country.
Reliance Industries, which is the most valuable firm in India and runs Reliance Retail and Jio Platforms, declined to comment on the report. Amazon also declined to comment.
The reported talks between Amazon and Reliance Retail comes days after Ambani, who is India’s richest man, said several firms had expressed interest in backing the retail chain. Ambani’s other venture, Reliance Jio Platforms, has secured over $20 billion by selling 33% stake to more than a dozen investors including Facebook, Google, Silver Lake, and General Atlantic since April this year.
During Reliance Industries’ annual general meeting earlier this month, Ambani said the company will “induct global partners and investors in Reliance Retail in the next few quarters.”
Reliance Industries’ new venture JioMart is increasingly becoming a new challenger to Amazon, which has invested more than $6.5 billion in its India business, and Walmart’s Flipkart in recent months.
Morgan Stanley, which served as the financial advisor to Reliance Industries for Jio Platforms’ deals, recently valued Reliance Retail at about $29 billion.
Both Amazon and Reliance Retail, according to local media reports, have also been locked in a battle to acquire majority stake in Future Retail, India’s second largest retail chain.