Be it the technology and digital services platforms or the retail business, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), the oil-to-yarn and retail-to-telecom conglomerate led by billionaire entrepreneur Mukesh Ambani has mastered the art of wooing investors. Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL) on Wednesday said that private equity major Silver Lake will invest ₹7,500 crore (approximately $1 billion) into RRVL, a subsidiary of RIL.
The new investment values RRVL at a pre-money equity value of ₹4.21 lakh crore (about $57 billion), the company said in a statement to the stock exchanges, adding that Silver Lake’s investment will translate into a 1.75% equity stake in RRVL on a fully diluted basis.
This marks the second billion-dollar investment by Silver Lake in a Reliance Industries subsidiary after the $1.35-billion investment in Jio Platforms announced earlier this year.
Ambani’s fortune surged after his slew of deals with global investors and tech giants such as Facebook, Google, General Atlantic, KKR, TPG, and others, who together put in billions of dollars in his technology and digital services company (Jio Platforms) and the retail business over the last few months. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Ambani, who owns 42% of RIL—the owner of the world’s largest oil refining complex—is ranked No. 7 globally with a net worth of $80.4 billion as of September 9. In the Bloomberg list, Ambani is placed just below Tesla CEO Elon Musk, (No. 6) and ahead of Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft.
The latest funding in the retail business comes a week after RRVL acquired the retail and wholesale business and the logistics and warehousing arm from Kishor Biyani-led Future Group for a lumpsum amount of ₹24,713 crore. The acquisition gave Reliance Retail access to Future Group’s retail formats such as Big Bazaar, Foodhall, FBB, Easyday, and Central formats spread across 420 cities in India with a network of about 1,800 stores. At present, Reliance Retail operates India’s largest retail business serving close to 640 million customers across its 12,000 stores nationwide.
“We believe technology will be key to bringing the much-needed transformation in this sector so that various constituents of the retail ecosystem can collaborate to build inclusive growth platforms. Silver Lake will be an invaluable partner in implementing our vision for Indian Retail,” said Ambani, who is RIL chairman and managing director, in a statement.
With more than $60 billion in combined assets under management and committed capital, Silver Lake is one of the big-ticket investors in the global-technology space. Some of its key global investments include Airbnb, Alibaba, Alphabet’s Verily and Waymo units, Dell Technologies, and Twitter, among others.
“The success of JioMart in such a short time span, especially while India, along with the rest of the world, battles the Covid-19 pandemic, is truly unprecedented, and the most exciting growth phase has just begun. Reliance’s New Commerce strategy could become the disruptor of this decade,” said Egon Durban, co-CEO and managing partner, Silver Lake.
Reliance Retail, through its New Commerce strategy, has started a transformational digitalisation of small and unorganised merchants and is committed to expanding the network to over 20 million of these merchants, helping them benefit from the use of technology tools and efficient supply chain infrastructure.
Shares of RIL were trading at ₹2,138.70, up 1.5%, during afternoon trade on the BSE on Wednesday.