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India: Amazon acquires Indian grocery chain for US$580m

 |  September 20, 2018

Amazon, along with private equity firm Samara Capital, will acquire Indian supermarket chain More for an undisclosed sum. According to DealStreetAsia, a source said the transaction was valued at around ₹4,200 crore (more than $583 million USD).

The acquisition of More’s parent company, Aditya Birla Group, will be carried out by Samara Capital’s arm Witzig Advisory Services, in which Amazon is a minority shareholder. RKN Retail, a promoter entity of Aditya Birla Retail, revealed in an exchange filing that it will sell its entire 62.2 percent stake in the retailer to Witzig.

“The board of directors of the company, at its meeting held on Sept. 19, 2018, has approved the sale of its entire shareholding in Aditya Birla Retail,” RKN stated.

Samara and Amazon will first buy the stake in Aditya Birla Retail from RKN. The balance stake will then be acquired from Kanishtha Finance & Investment, another promoter entity of Aditya.

“After the closure of transaction, Amazon will hold a 49 percent stake in the company and the balance will be held by Samara. Amazon will be holding less than the threshold of 51 percent to avoid complications in seeking approvals,” the source said.

The move comes as Amazon has been expanding its grocery offerings in India, and as the company anticipates that the market will account for over half of its business in India in the next five years. Amit Agarwal, the head of Amazon India, said in an interview that groceries and items such as creams, soaps and cleaning products were already the largest product category on the site in terms of number of units sold in India.

“I would not speculate on when we would launch AmazonFresh — but, absolutely, if you ask me the next five years’ vision, from your avocados to your potatoes, and your meat to your ice cream, we’ll deliver everything to you in two hours,” he said at the time.

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