The investment firm KKR & Co. Ltd. will invest ₹5,550 crore (~US$747 million) in Reliance Retail for a 1.28% stake in the entity, the companies announced on Thursday. This follows a ₹7,500 crore (~US$1 billion) investment by Silver Lake earlier this month. Both Silver Lake and KKR have invested in Jio Platforms. KKR had invested ₹11,367 crore (~US$1.54 billion) investment in Jio Platforms announced earlier this year, whereas Silver Lake has announced two investments amounting to ₹10,252.55 crore (US$1.39 billion).
A digital plus retail bet
These investments represent a significant bet on not just Reliance’s digital ambitions, but on the ability of its existing retail presence to grow digitally. Reliance Retail is the Reliance Industry Limited subsidiary that runs JioMart, which is on a beta in hundreds of cities right now, and is a central piece of Reliance’s strategy to take on e-commerce giants like Amazon and Flipkart. Now that Reliance Retail has received ₹13,050 crore (~US$1.77 billion) in investments, and also acquired the Future Group’s consumer businesses (such as Big Bazaar and FBB), it is likely to have enough capital and distribution muscle to be a formidable force in the market.
If further investments like this come along from other Jio Platforms investors (as they did abundantly for Jio Platforms), Reliance will have essentially earned as much money as it spent buying Future Group’s retail businesses (₹24,713 crore, US$3.36 billion) in a matter of weeks.