World’s richest man, Jeff Bezos through his e-commerce behemoth Amazon along with private equity firm Samara Capital will invest Rs 275 crore into Witzig Advisory Services the parent company of MORE Retail — a retail chain jointly owned by the duo. The move comes just as India’s retail space is heating up, with India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani acquiring Future Group’s retail, wholesale, logistics and warehousing business. Samara Capital owns 51% in Witzig Advisory, the parent company of More Retail Limited and will be investing a higher amount than Amazon, which owns a 49% stake, financial data platform Paper.vc said.
Amazon and Samara Capital had bought More from Aditya Birla Group in 2018 and renamed it from Aditya Birla Retail to More Retail Limited. According to reports, this is the first investment by the private equity firm and the ecommerce giant into More, after its initial investment of Rs 4,050 crore that was made post acquisition. More Retail offers two types of stores, hypermarts and supermarkets. The company has 22 hypermarts spreading across Delhi NCR, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Thane, and other key cities. On the other hand it operates 651 supermarkets.
With the recent investment the retail space in India could heat ahead of the festive season. Reliance after acquiring Future’s business has over 13,000 stores while Avenue Supermarts or DMart of Radhakishan Damani has close to 200 stores. While Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail will be banking on an offline and online model to drive sales, Avenue Supermarts has an offline business largely. However, the company did start taking online orders amid the pandemic. With Amazon prime’s grocery offering, More Retail could drive growth using the online channel.
Earlier, Amazon had invested Rs 1,500 crore in Future Coupons, the promoter entity of Future Retail for a 49% stake. This investment gave Amazon access to Kishore Biyani’s Big Bazaar. However, now with Reliance Industries purchasing the company, Amazon has moved to More Retail to meet its customer’s grocery demands. The online retail space already has players like Big Basket, Groffers, and Dunzo.