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India’s Reliance buys off Future Group for $3.6b

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Reliance Industries Ltd will purchase the Indian retail chain Future Group for $3.6 billion.

Asia’s richest man, Ambani has been sustained by investments close to $20 billion from backers including Google and Facebook in his oil-to-telecoms conglomerate, and is seeking to strengthen his hand in India’s huge retail sector.

Owned by India’s “father of modern retailing”, Kishore Biyani, Future Group is home to supermarket chain Big Bazaar, upmarket food stores FoodHall, and bargain clothing chain Brand Factory.

Ratings agency ICRA estimates total debt at Future Group’s listed companies had risen to 127.78 billion rupees by September last year and the company has since faced widespread closures under India’s coronavirus lockdowns.

Five listed entities, including Future Retail Ltd, will be merged into Future Enterprises Ltd (FEL) before the sale to one of the retail subsidiaries of Reliance, the paper added.

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