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Indian retailer Future’s shares surge as regulator approves Amazon investment

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Via Reuters Finance

FILE PHOTO: A security personnel walks past the Big Bazaar retail store in Mumbai June 9, 2012. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Shares in Future Retail Ltd (FRTL.NS) surged 13% on Friday, after India’s antitrust body approved a deal that would give Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) a minority stake in one of the country’s top retail groups.

Future Retail in August announced the deal that would result in the U.S. online retail giant acquiring a 3.58% stake in the company, which runs over 1,500 stores in India and owns budget department store chain Big Bazaar.

The companies had not disclosed the value of the deal, which would help Amazon push deeper into India’s booming retail market.

In a brief statement on Thursday, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) said it had approved Amazon’s purchase of a 49% stake in Future Coupons Ltd, an entity that owns about 7.3% of Future Retail, adding that it would soon provide a detailed order.

Reuters reported early this month that the CCI had sought more information from Amazon about the planned transaction.

Last year, Amazon and Indian private equity firm Samara Capital announced a joint investment in an entity that would give Amazon a stake in local supermarket chain More.

The Seattle-headquartered firm also owns a stake in Indian department store chain Shopper’s Stop (SHOP.NS).

Shares in Future Retail were higher by 13.8% by 10 a.m. in Mumbai. Shares in other Future Group companies – Future Enterprises Ltd (FURE.NS), Future Consumer Ltd (FTRE.NS) and Future Lifestyle Fashions Ltd (FLFL.NS) – were higher by 2% to 16%.

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The Economic Times reported in August that the deal pegged Future Retail’s value at close to $6 billion, more than double its then market capitalization of $2.9 billion.

Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu


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