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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Wal-mart, Bharti deal: diary of a troubled marriage

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 09, 2013
First Published: 11:35 IST(9/10/2013) | Last Updated: 01:03 IST(10/10/2013)

The world’s largest retail chain Walmart Stores Inc and Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Group said on Wednesday they are going separate ways for operations in the Indian retail sector.

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Walmart will acquire the Indian partner’s stake in the 50:50 wholesale venture Bharti group, which runs cash-and-carry stores under the 'Best Price Modern Wholesale' brand. It will make the venture a 100% subsidiary of the US giant, bringing the curtains down on a troubled alliance marred by government probes and allegations of corrupt practices.

Here's a timeline of the six-year old alliance of the two companies in India.

• August 2007
Walmart and Bharti group sets up 50:50 joint venture (JV) for wholesale cash-and-carry business in India

• May 2009
The JV launches its first cash-and-carry store under the `Best Price Modern Wholesale’ brand in Amritsar

• March 2010
Walmart invests $100 million through compulsorily convertible debentures (CCDs) in Cedar Support Services, a Bharti Group firm that allegedly operates front-end retail stores

• September 2012
Govt says it has received a letter from CPI Rajya Sabha MP P Achuthan raising specific questions on Walmart’s investment in Cedar Support Services
Govt allows upto 51% FDI in multi-brand retail

• November 2012
Bharti Walmart suspends five top executives as part of an ongoing investigation against alleged corrupt practices that Walmart has launched globally in countries including Mexico and Brazil

• December 2012
Government announces probe against Walmart’s reported disclosure to the US Senate that it spent about $25 million since 2008 on lobbying activities that included “enhanced market access for investment in India”

• June 2013
Walmart India CEO Raj Jain quits in a sudden turn of events with the company not elaborating the reasons. Ramnik Narsey replaces Jain.

• September 2013
The deadline for converting funds lent by Walmart through CCDs to a Bharti group company running front-end retail venture ends.

• October 2013
Both the companies call off the alliance stating they will go separate ways in both retail and wholesale ventures.

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