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Samara-Amazon Acquires Birla’s More Retail Chain

Samara Capital and Amazon plan to expand the chain after completion of acquisition process, which was on hold due to its burgeoning debt

Samara Capital, home-grown private equity fund and e-commerce major Amazon signed a deal to acquire Aditya Birla Group’s food and grocery retail chain, More. It is the fourth-largest supermarket chain in the country after Future Group’s Big Bazaar, Reliance Retail, and DMart. Samara Capital and Amazon acquired the retail chain for an enterprise valuation of Rs 4,200 crore. Aditya Birla Retail Ltd (ABRL) owns 575 More stores. The company had acquired 5% in department store chain Shoppers Stop for Rs 180 crore in September 2017.

Samara Capital invested through its alternative investment fund, Samara AIF that is backed by multiple overseas investors. The company acquired 51% of Kumar Mangalam Birla’s ABRL, while Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC, Amazon’s investment arm acquired the rest 49%. The deal will now be subject to clearance from the Competition Commission of India (CCI). Furthermore, the acquisition is reported to be through an existing facility management back-end company.

The deal will operate ABRL’s debt that stood at Rs 4,000 crore as of March 2018. Once the process is complete Samara Capital and Amazon plan to rapidly expand the chain which was put on hold due to its burgeoning debt. The companies plans to set up 100-150 stores annually including neighbourhood supermarkets and hypermarkets. The plan for the current fiscal is to set up 90 stores. Till August 2018, Samara Capital was in negotiations with Amazon and Goldman Sachs to form a consortium to acquire ABRL. However, Goldman Sachs exited the consortium. This is Amazon’s second direct investment in India’s offline retail space.