Kishore Biyani-led Future Group and Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Industries Ltd have issued separate clarifications over media reports which said that RIL is eyeing to buy a stake in Future Retail. Both companies have not denied the possibility of a deal. Future Retail on Thursday said that the company continues to explore and evaluate various opportunities, it said in a BSE filing. “The company continues to explore and evaluate various opportunities or associations in the interest of the company as and when considered appropriate,” Future Retail said in the statement, adding that deals are always dependent on further feasibility studies and the need for securing approvals in accordance to the applicable laws and other stakeholders.
The clarification comes merely days after a media report said that the two of the biggest retailers in the company are nearing a deal. If the deal materializes, it is expected to be a breather for Future Group, as promoter Kishore Biyani defaulted on loans in March 2020. Promoter and promoter group held a 40.31% stake in Future Retail as of March 31, 2020, through Future Corporate Resources and Future Coupons. Other than the promoter group, PremjiInvest owns about 6% stake in Future Retail and Jeff Bezos-founded Amazon has around 3.6% stake.
Reliance Industries Ltd also clarified the media report. In a separate communication to the stock exchanges, RIL said: “The Company evaluates various opportunities on an ongoing basis. Further, there is no information which has not been announced to the stock exchanges and which should have been announced by the Company in terms of the SEBI (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015”.
Future Retail runs over 1,500 retail stores in about 400 cities. The retail chain also operates large-format stores such as Big Bazaar which is its flagship chain, besides small store neighbourhood retail chains, EasyDay Club and Heritage Fresh. Reliance Retail operates a network of 11,784 stores and reported a revenue of Rs 38,211 crore in the January-March quarter.