Amazon set to buy into India’s Future Retail: sources

Amazon Future Retail
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, January 19, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

(Reuters) – Inc is in late-stage talks to buy as much as 10% of India’s Future Retail Ltd, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The move comes as Amazon is looking to expand its reach in the Indian brick-and-mortar market, about a year after retailer Walmart Inc bought a majority stake in Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart.

An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment on the deal, saying the company does not comment about “what we may or may not do ahead.”

Future Group is seeking a valuation of about 20 billion rupees ($281 million) from Amazon for the stake, according to the report. The retail group currently operates more than 900 stores in India and owns nine supermarket brands, including Big Bazaar.

Seattle-based Amazon was also in talks with Reliance Industries Ltd’s retail unit to buy a stake in India’s biggest brick-and-mortar retailer, two sources with knowledge of the talks told Reuters earlier this month.

Future Group did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

The world’s largest online retailer has been slowly building up stake in brick and mortar stores in India. Deloitte expects India’s fast-growing e-commerce market to more than treble to $84 billion between 2017 and 2021.

Amazon bought a 5% stake in Indian retailer Shoppers Stop Ltd in 2017 and a year later picked up stake in grocery chain More.

In the United States, Amazon started embracing brick-and-mortar stores after its 2017 purchase of high-end grocer Whole Foods Market Inc for $13.7 billion.

(Reporting by Neha Malara in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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