India’s Bharti Group firm holds talks to divest stake in Future Retail

22 May 2018 (Last Updated May 23rd, 2018 06:44)

Cedar Services, a Bharti Group firm, is reportedly holding negotiations with PremjiInvest, which has uncovered its interest in Future Retail.

Cedar Services, a Bharti Group firm, is reportedly holding negotiations with PremjiInvest, which has uncovered its interest in Future Retail.

This move possibly comes after the Future Retail company relaxed restrictions on divesting shares.

Two people with knowledge of the matter told The Economic Times: “The Future Group has removed the clause that restricted Bharti from selling its stake in the company before five years.”

As per the new agreement between the firms, if the deal valuation touches beyond a pre-specified level, then the additional amount would be provided to the Kishore Biyani-led Future Group.

In 2015, Future Group agreed to combine its retail unit with competitor Bharti Retail in an all-stock transaction, which in turn provided a 9.23% stake to Cedar Services in Future Retail and Future Enterprises.

Future Group, which operates Big Bazaar supermarket chain, reported an 8% increase in sales in the 2018 fiscal year.

“Future Group, which operates Big Bazaar supermarket chain, reported an 8% increase in sales in the 2018 fiscal year.”

The last six years have seen Future Group purchasing at least six supermarket store chains, which includes Nilgiri’s, Bharti Retail, Heritage retail division and Hypercity.

All these acquisitions have provided Future Group with a retail space of 13.6 million ft2, with a presence in over 250 cities through more than 900 outlets.

Only Reliance Retail comes close to the Kishore Biyani-led group in terms of national footprint.

Future Retail announced its plans to purchase grocery retailer Foodworld Supermarkets for over Rs400m ($5.8m) in an all-cash transaction.

This acquisition will give Future Group a network of over 35 supermarkets in the southern part of India.