With 500 million customers, Future Retail seems to be sitting on a goldmine of data which it plans to exploit to raise funds from foreign investors. The company’s boss Kishore Biyani has confirmed that he may close a deal with a foreign investor in the next two-three months.
The development comes a few months after the media reported that the group is in talks with Amazon which may pour in around $600 million in the company at a valuation of around $6 billion.
If the deal happens with Amazon, it will invest in the retail company through its investment arm as India doesn’t allow overseas investment in multi-brand retail. The arm is registered as a foreign portfolio investor (FPI) that can acquire up to 10 per cent in an Indian entity as a single firm. Last year, Amazon picked up a 5 per cent stake in Shoppers Stop through its investment arm.
Biyani emphasised the importance of data for his business which will be key in drawing investment. The company has data on consumption and buying frequency pattern of nearly 30 million loyal customers and a whopping 500 million footfalls or consumers who have visited Future Group stores last year.
In the past few years, both Amazon and Future Retail have changed their stance towards the retail business. Amazon is now exploring the offline approach to tap more customer base and Future Retail, which was very critical of e-commerce till now, is ready to adapt to the increasing demand.
Earlier, Kishore Biyani reportedly met Amazon’s chief executive, Walmart, and Alibaba to explore business synergies and potential opportunities with them. But according to sources, US e-tailer has the best chance of sealing the deal with the country’s largest retail brand.
The deal would give a deeper understanding of the Indian retail market to Amazon who now is fighting Walmart. Besides, it also gives readymade customer base and insights of the Future Group, which also plans to deliver fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy items through a dedicated app.
The development was first reported by ET.