Future Group in talks with Premji Invest to raise $250 million
India’s largest retail firm Future Group is in talks with Wipro chairman Azim Premji’s investment firm Premji Invest to raise funds around $250 million.
The investment is expected to give PremjiInvest a 6 percent stake in the group’s retail entity Future Retail, which owns the Big Bazaar stores, Times of India reported citing sources.
PremiInvest is already an investor in the company’s fashion entity Future Lifestyle Fashions and looking to further invest in one of India’s fastest growing retail firms. Future group on the other hand is looking to consolidate its market position and plans to sell 10 percent of the company’s stake to global retailer Amazon.
The group’s CEO Kishore Biyani has already met Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to discuss the deal. Majority retailers in India are now looking to stitch up partnerships with global firms post the mega Flipkart-Walmart deal.
T K Kurien, chief investment officer in PremjiInvest, said he has no comments to offer on the development, while Biyani did not respond to TOI’s query.
One source said the discussions were advanced, while a second person said the transaction was still in proposal stage waiting for due diligence.
Another person privy to the matter said Amazon is expected to pick up a 10% stake in Future Group for about $400 million. Amazon wants to tap Future Group’s strength in grocery retailing through its Big Bazaar and Easyday stores. “Amazon wants to replicate the Whole Foods model in the US and leverage Big Bazaar’s scale and sourcing,” a person privy to the talks said.
Future Retail had reported a net profit for the whole 2017/2018 financial year of Rs 11.31 crore (approx $1.7 million) with total income of Rs 18,489.64 crore (approx $2.8 billion).
Future Retail is the group’s retail arm, and operates 2,500 stores across various formats and brands like Big Bazaar, Easyday, Brand Factory and HyperCity, among others.
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