Reliance Said to Be Sole Bidder For Metro’s India Business
Reliance Industries Ltd. is in advanced discussions to acquire German firm Metro AG’s wholesale operations in India.
(Bloomberg) -- Reliance Industries Ltd. is in advanced discussions to acquire German firm Metro AG’s wholesale operations in India, according to people familiar with the matter, as the conglomerate led by billionaire Mukesh Ambani seeks to dominate India’s mammoth retail sector.
Charoen Pokphand Group Co. is no longer actively in talks with Metro, leaving only Ambani’s Reliance to pursue the so-called cash-and-carry business, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. A final decision could emerge as early as next month, one of the people said.
A deal could value the business at $1 billion to $1.2 billion including debt, a different person said. Discussions between Reliance and Metro regarding details including the valuation are ongoing and could fall apart, the people said.
Representatives for Metro and Reliance declined to comment, while a spokesperson for CP Group didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Metro entered the Indian market in 2003 and currently operates 31 wholesale distribution centers across the country, serving business customers only, according to its website. Its core clients include hotels, restaurants as well as different types of corporates such as small retailers.
Reliance is already the country’s biggest brick-and-mortar retailer, and a strong wholesale unit would further deepen its operations in India. Along with CP Group and Reliance, Metro’s potential cash-and-carry business sale had also drawn interest from Amazon.com Inc., Bloomberg News reported in July.
(Updates with company response in fourth paragraph.)
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