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Reliance says retail venture completes fundraising, rakes in $6.4 billion

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s Reliance Industries Ltd on Thursday said its retail arm had completed its fundraising exercise as more than half a dozen investors poured 472.65 billion rupees ($6.37 billion) into a 10.09% stake in the company in two months.

A customer wearing a protective mask checks a dairy product inside a superstore of Reliance Industries Ltd, in Mumbai, India, October 7, 2020. REUTERS/Niharika Kulkarni/File Photo

Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL) began raising capital in September, with U.S.-based private equity firm Silver Lake Partners pumping 75 billion rupees for 1.6% of the venture.

The eight other investors in RRVL include Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, private equity firm KKR & Co Inc, Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala Investment Co and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

The funds will help Reliance, India’s biggest retailer with roughly 12,000 stores, to aggressively expand its so-called new commerce venture, which ties neighbourhood stores to Reliance for online deliveries of groceries, apparel and electronics in a space currently dominated by Walmart Inc’ s Flipkart and Inc’s Indian arm.

“With our focus on New Commerce, we are committed to playing a transformational role in the Indian retail sector by empowering millions of merchants and micro, small and medium enterprises,” RRVL director Isha Mukesh Ambani said in a statement.

Isha is the daughter of Asia’s richest man and Reliance’s chairman, Mukesh Ambani.

Mumbai-headquartered Reliance in August announced it would buy retail, logistics and other assets from Future Group for $3.4 billion including debt.

Amazon has challenged that deal, alleging Future breached certain contract provisions it entered into last year in a separate deal with the U.S. e-commerce giant.

Reliance, an oil-to-retail conglomerate, earlier this year raised just over $20 billion from global investors, including Facebook Inc, by selling stakes in its Jio Platforms digital business.

Telecoms venture Jio, the mainstay of Jio Platforms, is India’s biggest telecoms company with more than 402 million subscribers at end-August.

(This story has been refiled to add dropped word ‘million’ in final paragraph.)

Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Bernadette Baum