Amazon will buy an indirect minority stake in Future Retail, ahead of an option to buy all or part of the promoters’ holding in the company after three years. The retail giant will buy a 49 per cent stake in Future Coupons, a promoter group company of Future Retail. The promoter group owns 47.02 per cent in Future Retail. The promoters have also agreed to certain share transfer restrictions on their shares in the company for the same tenure, including restrictions to not transfer shares to specified persons, a right of first offer in favor of Amazon, all of which are subject to mutually agreed exceptions such as liquidity allowances and affiliate transfers.
Amazon was earlier interested in acquiring a stake in Future Retail, which runs more than 1,600 stores across food, grocery and general merchandise. After foreign ownership rules were amended, it took the route of a stake sale through Future Coupons so as to adhere to the rules.
Future Retail controls about a third of India’s organised food and grocery market through the Big Bazaar and Nilgiris supermarket chains. Physical stores account for more than 90 per cent of all retail sales in India. While early online retail models focused on quick wins in smart phones and apparel, attention is moving to grocery.