QIA to take stake in Ambani retail firm at $100 billion valuation

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Qatar Investment Authority will invest $1 billion for a 1% stake in India’s Reliance Retail Ventures, the retail arm of billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries, nearly doubling its valuation to $100 billion from its last funding round in 2020.

Reliance Retail, India’s largest retailer, has been partnering with a slew of global brands like Burberry, Pret A Manger and Tiffany to launch and expand their presence in India.

It last raised about 472.65 billion rupees ($5.72 billion)from more than half a dozen investors, including KKR and General Atlantic, the Saudi Public Investment Fund and the UAE’s Mubadala in 2020.

Led by billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s daughter Isha Ambani, Reliance Retail Ventures houses retail operations, including international partnerships and consumer goods business.

Its core retail businesses include e-commerce operations and hundreds of outlets that retail electronics, clothing and food products.

Reliance Retail was recently valued at $92 billion to $96 billion by two global consultants, a move seen as signalling an eventual initial public offering of the company.

Ambani has said he plans to list his retail operations at some point, but has so far not given a timeline or details of his plans.

The investment is also part of a broader shift in QIA’s investment strategy, which is moving towards sectors like technology, healthcare and public and private markets from holding trophy assets such as the Shard skyscraper and the Harrods department store in London.

“We are looking forward to Reliance Retail Ventures Limited, with its strong vision and impressive growth trajectory, joining our growing and diverse portfolio of investments in India,” said QIA CEO Mansoor Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud.

To date, the $445 billion sovereign wealth fund’s direct investments in India have largely focused on venture capital, particularly in online retail, including food delivery startups Swiggy and Rebel Foods as well as e-commerce platform Flipkart, according to Sovereign wealth fund tracker Global SWF.

Morgan Stanley acted as financial adviser to Reliance Retail Ventures, while Goldman Sachs advised Reliance Industries on the process and transaction structuring.

($1 = 82.7305 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Sethuraman NR in Bengaluru and Andrew Mills in Dubai; Editing by Savio D’Souza and David Evans)