Amazon.com (AMZN) has reportedly received a $20 billion overture from India-based Reliance Industries for a stake in its lucrative retail business, potentially paving the way for Amazon to gain a foothold in one of the world’s largest consumer retail markets.
Bloomberg reported on Thursday that Reliance’s Retail Ventures unit has expressed interest in negotiating a transaction that would offload as much as a 40% stake in the subsidiary to Amazon.
A successful deal would make Amazon an instant retail behemoth in India, a country known for its massive consumer base that remains focused on buying on-the-street local and in person rather than online and via delivery.
It would also turn Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and Reliance owner and billionaire Mukesh Ambani, the sixth-richest person in the world, according to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index, from rivals to allies and partners.
Specifically for Amazon, a deal with Reliance would allow it to partner an existing retail operator that already has a brick-and-mortar, boots-on-the-ground presence in India, where online shopping remains in its infancy.
For Reliance, a deal would put it a step closer to becoming India’s one-stop shop for all things e-commerce, similar to China’s Alibaba Group (BABA) - Get Report. It also follows a similar $20 billion deal with Reliance’s digital-service and telecomm provider – Jio Platforms – to FaceBook (FB) - Get Report and Alphabet-owned Google (GOOGL) - Get Report.