Growing investor zeal: Carlyle, SoftBank on Reliance’s wait list

Sources say Reliance Industries has asked the two to wait since it is already in talks with other financial investors

RIL, Reliance
Reliance Industries plans to sell about a 10% stake in Reliance Retail to financial investors and almost all the $5.7 billion worth of shares have been taken up. Representational image

Carlyle Group Inc. and SoftBank Group Corp. have been told to wait in a strong reflection of investor demand for Reliance Industries Ltd.’s retail business, Bloomberg reported.

The Carlyle Group is an American multinational private equity, alternative asset management and financial services corporation. And SoftBank Group is a Japanese multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Tokyo. SoftBank owns stakes in many technology, energy, and financial companies.

The two recently showed interest in investing in Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd, Bloomberg quoted sources. Reliance Industries has asked the two companies to wait on the sideline since the Indian conglomerate is already in advanced talks with other financial investors, the sources said.

Ambani is tapping the backers of his digital services business, which has secured $20 billion in recent months, as he seeks funding for Reliance Retail. Silver Lake Partners, an investor in Jio Platforms Ltd., last week agreed to chip in $1 billion. Other Jio investors, including private equity funds KKR & Co. and L Catterton, are also considering investing, Bloomberg reported.

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co., which is a Jio investor as well, is weighing an investment of about $750 million in Reliance Retail, sources said, adding Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund are also mulling investments.

Reliance Industries plans to sell about a 10% stake in Reliance Retail to financial investors and almost all the $5.7 billion worth of shares have been taken up.

Related news: After Silver Lake, PE firm KKR to invest $1 billion in Reliance Retail

Ambani is offering to sell a roughly $20 billion stake in the retail business to the U.S. tech giant Amazon.com Inc, which could be equivalent to as much as a 40% holding. A deal, if successful, would be the biggest ever in India as well as for Amazon, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Potential investors, including Carlyle and SoftBank, could still get their hands on Reliance Retail shares should others cut their commitments, the people said. Talks are going on and could still be delayed or fall apart, Bloomberg said quoting sources.

Ambani has identified technology and retail as future growth areas in a pivot away from the energy businesses. The 63-year-old Indian tycoon’s ambitions include creating a home-grown e-commerce giant like China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

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