Amazon, Samara-owned Witzig Advisory to acquire Aditya Birla Retail's 'More' chain of stores

Mumbai: Amazon.com Inc and private equity firm Samara Alternative Investment Fund-owned Witzig Advisory Services will fully acquire Aditya Birla Retail Ltd (ABRL), which runs 'more' chain of stores, for an enterprise value of Rs 4,200 crore (($580.35 million), CNBC TV18 reported on Wednesday citing sources, Reuters said.

In a BSE filing, RKN Retail Pvt Ltd, a part of the Aditya Birla group, said it along with Kanishtha Finance and Investment Pvt Ltd and ABRL has entered into a share purchase agreement (SPA) with Witzig, to sell their combined stake of around 99.99 in ABRL.

Amazon’s latest acquisition adds more heat to the US e-commerce giant’s battle with Walmart Inc in the Indian market after Walmart acquired Indian firm Flipkart for $16 billion earlier this year.

Samara will buy 51 percent, while Amazon will have the rest, CNBC TV18 reported, Reuters said.

RKN Retail said its board of directors at a meeting held Wednesday approved the sale of its entire 62.19 percent stake in ABRL to Witzig.

Subsequently, the company jointly with Kanishtha Finance and Investment Pvt Ltd and ABRL, entered into an SPA with Witzig, to sell their combined stake aggregating to 99.99 percent in ABRL, it added.

Pranab Barua, who heads the retail and apparel vertical of the Aditya Birla Group, is likely to head the operations of the entity, Reuters said. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while Gautam Gode, the managing director of Samara Capital, said the firm does not comment on its investments, Reuters said.

Representative image. Reuters

Representative image. Reuters

Aditya Birla Group confirmed the development to Reuters but did not elaborate further.

Meanwhile, RKN Retail said that the deal would be subject to regulatory approvals from various authorities.

"The aforesaid sale of shares of ABRL would be subject to the terms of the SPA and regulatory approvals," said RKN Retail.

ABRL, part of $44.3 billion Aditya Birla Group, operates two different store formats - Supermarket and Hypermarket under the brand 'more'.

When contacted, Aditya Birla group declined to comment over the value of the deal.

It operates 523 supermarkets across the country and some in-house labels as VOW, Kitchen's Promise and Feasters.

The other brands include Prarthana, More Choice, More Daily, More Life, Bluearth, Karinee, Kruff, Incheels, TRU, Chatter Kids and Yo.

ABRL had ventured into food and grocery retail sectors in 2007 with the acquisition of Trinethra Super Retail and subsequently expanded its presence across the country.

It is the fourth largest supermarket chain in the country after Future Group, Reliance Retail and D-Mart.

-- With PTI inputs


Updated Date: Sep 20, 2018 07:35 AM

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