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Mukesh wants slice of Carrefour

Reliance is in talks to pick a minority stake in the France-based retail giant, report HT Correspondents.
None | By Arun Kumar, Gaurav Choudhury and Indulal PM, New Delhi/mumbai
UPDATED ON MAR 15, 2007 01:05 AM IST

It could be Mukesh Ambani’s turn to make India Inc’s next multi-billion overseas deal. His Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) is in talks to pick up a strategic minority stake in France-based Carrefour SA - the world’s second largest retailer after US-based Wal-Mart, with 12,000 stores worldwide.

Sources said Reliance had appointed two investment bankers to talk to the Halley family to pick up its 20 per cent stake in Carrefour, which has sales of nearly 78 billion euros (Rs 4,43,040 crore) and a market value of around $48.7 billion (Rs 2,20,611 crore). But it was not clear if there would be a fresh issue of shares to Reliance or a straight sale of the family’s stakes.

If it comes through, the transaction could be worth $8-10 billion.

The sources said a core mergers and acquisitions team of RIL was already in Paris to thrash out the broad contours of the strategic alliance. A Reliance spokesman refused comment on the issue.

Reliance, which is selling under its Reliance Fresh retail brand with ambitious plans for expansion, may use the chain to sell mangoes from India worldwide, while it could gain access to the complex procurement and information-technology systems of Carrefour to manage its supplies efficiently.

Reliance is competing against Sunil Mittal’s Bharti group which has inked a strategic alliance with Wal-Mart, while the Tata group is in talks with UK retail major Tesco.

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