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Reliance Retail to acquire Just Dial in a cash deal worth Rs 5,710 crore

Amidst the buzz of IPO, Reliance Retail Ventures (RRVL) has acquired the controlling stake in Just Dial in a cash deal worth Rs 5,710 crore. Reliance Retail is the retail arm of Reliance Industries (RIL).

Reliance Retail has offered Rs 3,497 crore to Just Dial’s promoter VSS Mani and his family for their 40.95% stake in the company Just Dial.

The company will further make an open offer to public shareholders to purchase 26% stake in the company entailing about Rs 2,213 crore. The company is eyeing to buy the nonpromoter shareholding at about Rs 1,022 per equity share.

The deal testifies that India’s largest and most profitable player is entering the local search and services space. The company’s latest acquisition boasts more than 30 million listings of enterprises across web, app, and voice platforms.

Prior to this, Reliance Retail had purchased online pharma retailer Netmeds and British toymaker Hamleys over Rs 620 crore each.

If all the plans fall in place, Reliance will hold over 66.95 percent stake in the Just Dial. However, Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Industries would not attempt to delist Just Dial, which will continue to operate as a separate entity.

Just Dial founder VSS Mani will continue to lead the company as Managing Director and CEO, Reliance said in a statement on Friday. Mani was reappointed as the CEO of the company for another five years.

The investment would leverage the 25-year-old company’s existing database of 30.4 million listings and 129.1 million quarterly unique users, according to the data as of March 31, 2021.

This is Reliance Retail’s fourth acquisition, after Future Group, Netmeds, and UrbanLadder, in the last 12 months. Reliance Retail has been on a buying spree recently.

Other than these acquisitions, Mukesh Ambani led company has bought Zivame, MesIndus Ventures, Shopsense Retails, Grab a Grub, and C-Square in the last couple of years.

Amidst the IPO frenzy in the domestic equity markets, Reliance Industries is mulling the plans to launch IPOs of its retail business. The aggressive activities are a sharp suggestion that it might hit the primary markets in the ongoing financial year.

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries, had earlier indicated a potential listing of its telecom arm, Reliance Jio in the annual general meeting with shareholders in order to unlock value in RIL’s various businesses.

Reliance Retail is the largest retail chain of the country. In the financial year 2020-21, the retail arm has reported a revenue of Rs 1,57,629 crore and a pre-tax profit of Rs 9,842 crore in FY21.

The net profit for the fiscal year 2020-21 was Rs 5,481 crore higher by 0.6%. The cash profits of the company slipped 3.1% to Rs 7,457 crore in the financial year ended on March 31, 2021.

In FY21, Reliance Retail strengthened its digital commerce and omni-channel capabilities across all businesses and adopted the latest technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to cater to changing consumer behavior and patterns.

As of March 31, 2021, Reliance Retail was operating 12,711 stores, covering 33.8 million sq ft. It operates nearly two-third of that in smaller towns and over half of 1,456 new stores opened in FY21 were in those markets.

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