Amazon.com is in exploratory talks with Reliance Industries-owned Reliance Retail for buying up to 26 percent stake in India’s biggest brick-and-mortar retailer, the Economic Times (ET) reported on Thursday. Talks began after Reliance’s negotiations with China’s Alibaba Group to sell a stake in the retail entity fell through due to differences over valuation, the financial daily reported citing two senior industry executives.
However, there is no certainty the initial discussions will lead to a deal, according to the report.
“As a policy, we do not comment on media speculation and rumours. Our company evaluates various opportunities on an ongoing basis,” Reliance Industries said in a statement.
Amazon declined to comment.
The Seattle-based e-commerce giant has been engaged in a pitched battle for Indian market share against Walmart’s Flipkart, with both companies announcing various plans to attract more customers in what is viewed as one of their most important growth markets.
Reuters reported on Monday that Amazon was planning a foray into the burgeoning online food delivery business in India this year.
Amazon is aiming to launch the new service delivering from restaurants ahead of India’s month-long festive season, which starts in September, one of the sources said.
India’s rising middle class has driven the growth of the online food delivery sector, with research firm RedSeer Consulting saying here order numbers rose 176 percent in 2018.
Profitability, however, remains elusive. The industry is dominated by local start-ups Swiggy, backed by Naspers and Tencent, and Zomato, which counts Sequoia as an investor.