Witzig Advisory Services, which acquired More Retail from Aditya Birla Group, has confirmed that Amazon has invested in the company, reports the Economic Times. Amazon has confirmed the investment to ET.

MediaNama has reached out to Amazon for comment, but is yet to hear back from them.

Why it matters: Amazon is trying to grow its offline presence, strengthen its retail arms and also logistics.

What you need to know

  • Witzig director and MD at Samaara Capital, Paurush Roy, confirmed the investment in Witzig and that Witzig had acquired grocery chain More Retail.
  • More Retail operates 523 supermarkets and 20 hypermarkets in the country, per Mint.
  • The deal will come under scrutiny in terms of compliance with FDI in retail norms, and competition diversity. Samara Alternative Investment Fund holds 51% stake in Witzig, while Amazon holds a 49% stake effectively making Witzig a domestic company, according to ET. Roy said Witzig’s acquisition was compliant with the country’s FDI in retail laws. “We will ensure Witzig complies with all applicable laws and regulations,” he told the publication.
  • More is already a seller on Amazon Prime Now, the grocery delivery vertical.
  • Amazon’s first got into the offline retail space by investing a 5% stake in Shopper’s Stop.
Samara-Amazon is retaining More’s management team of More — CEO Mohit Kampani, COO Sashi Gumma, and others, and is bringing Aditya Birla Retail’s managing director Pranab Barua on the board of Witzig.

Amazon’s investments in food retail

  • Amazon India has 57 Fulfilment Centres in over 13 states. FCs are equipped with temperature controlled zones to store perishable products such as fruits & vegetables (F&V), dairy products, chilled & frozen products along with non perishable goods, consumer electronics etc. It aims at opening 67 FCs by end of this year.
  • Amazon India infused Rs 10.5 crore into its food retail arm Amazon Retail India which runs Amazon Now (earlier Prime Now) and Amazon Pantry — both grocery delivery services.
  • In May, the company rebranded its app-only grocery service to Prime Now from Amazon Now.