COVID-19 may have ravaged economies, including that of India's, but it has not been able to stop Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and MD of India's largest conglomerate, from raking in multi-billion dollar deals for his company, Reliance Industries Ltd. Ambani-led Reliance Industries has signed 18 deals worth Rs 1,90,438 crore since the first COVID-19 infused lockdown was imposed in India in March.
The deal-making process started with world's biggest social media platform, Facebook Inc, pumping in a record Rs 43,573.62 crore for 9.9 per cent stake in RIL subsidiary Jio Platforms Ltd (JPL) on April 22, making it the largest minority shareholder in the company.
Then came the US tech investment firm Silver Lake Partners (SLP) on board, which infused Rs 5,655.75 crore in JPL for a 1.15 per cent stake on May 3. In the same month, Jio Platforms signed deals with American investment firm Vista Equity Partners (2.32 per cent stake for Rs 11,367 crore), General Atlantic (1.34 per cent stake for Rs 6,598 crore), and KKR (2.32 per cent stake for Rs 11,367 crore).
In June, Emirati state-owned holding company Mubadala, US investment firm TPG Capital, Silver Lake, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, American private equity company L Catterton and Saudi Arabia-based PIF collectively showered around Rs 37,132.2 crore in the RIL subsidiary. July marked three more deals with Intel Capital, global tech giant Google Inc, and Qualcomm Ventures for a total investment of Rs 36,661.5 crore.
In total, Jio Platforms committed Rs 1,52,056 crore for a combined stake sale of 33 per cent in JPL, with the last investment worth Rs 33,737 crore from Google in July.
Jio Platforms came to prominence only when RIL signed the deal with FB this year, but it has since then become one of the crown jewels of Mukesh Ambani's business empire in India. However, the company was started back in 2010.
Also read: How big is Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Retail
After signing up mega investment deals for Jio Platforms, Mukesh Ambani has shifted focus to Reliance Retail, another major vertical in the Reliance business. On August 19, Reliance Retail acquired a majority stake in Vitalic Health and subsidiaries, collectively known as Netmeds, for Rs 620 crore.
After several rounds of discussions with Future Group founder Kishore Biyani, Ambani's Reliance Retail bought Future Group's retail business for Rs 24,713 crore. This would help Kishore Biyani reduce debt and save him from defaulting on loans, and in turn, helped Ambani realise his dream of making the retail business an unbeatable force in India.
After taking over 1,800 Future Group retail stores in its fold, Reliance Retail has became around seven times bigger than its closest rival, Avenue Supermarts' D'Mart retail chain.
Now Ambani has plans to go the JPL way and raise around Rs 80,000 crore for Retail Retail to make further inroads into India's vast retail market, especially the rural India. He also aims to take the retail game to the global level to take on the likes of Walmart and Amazon.
This month alone, Reliance Retail has sold around 3.03 per cent stake in Reliance Retail for Rs 13,050 crore to the existing investors, Silver Lake Partners and KKR. Both these companies had also invested Rs 21,589 crore in Jio Platforms. While Silver Lake invested twice -- Rs 5,655 crore in May and Rs 4,567 crore in June -- in JPL, KKR infused Rs 11,367 crore on May 22.