Amazon prepares for the Mukesh Ambani challenge with a bet on Future Group – but Kishore Biyani's shareholders aren't happy

  • Amazon has picked up a 49% stake in Kishore Biyani’s Future Group’s – Future Coupons.
  • Amazon also announced its 2-hour grocery delivery service – Amazon Fresh in Bengaluru.
  • The developments come in right before Reliance Jio makes its reported entry into e-commerce.
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Global e-commerce giant Amazon picked up a 49% stake in Kishore Biyani’s Future Coupons. This company is the promoter of Future Retail, and Amazon will indirectly have ownership of the vast group of offline retail chains including Big Bazaar.

“We have been informed by Kishore Biyani on behalf of the existing shareholders forming part of the promoter group and Future Coupons that they have entered into a share subscription agreement and a shareholders' agreement with Amazon,” said a regulatory filing by Future Retail.

As part of the agreement, Amazon has been granted a call option. This option allows Amazon to acquire all or part of the promoters' shareholding in Future Retail and can be exercised in three or ten years. Again, this is subject to the regulation.

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Future Retail’s stock fell by 4.7% in early trade to ₹393, as the announcement was made late last night.

Amazon gets Fresh

The development came in on the same day as Amazon also announced its two-hour grocery delivery service – Amazon Fresh. With Amazon Fresh, customers can order their complete grocery requirements across a selection of over 5,000 fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat, ice-creams, and dry grocery like staples, packaged food, personal care and home care.

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While Amazon fresh is currently available in Bengaluru, it will also be offered in other cities soon.

Amazon’s stake in Future Group gives it access to offline store print in India, as the competition in the offline retail segment intensifies. Future Group which runs the stores Big Bazaar has 2,000 retail stores, covering over 24 million square feet of space in over 400 cities and towns.

Reliance Jio is set to make its entry in the e-commerce segment with groceries. Meanwhile, Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail has 10,644 stores in over 6,700 cities. It is present across areas like food and grocery, consumer electronics, fashion and lifestyle.

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Reports also had earlier said that Amazon is looking to acquire a 26% stake in Reliance Retail.
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