After gloomy shadows hovered over Reliance Retail Ventures Limited’s (RRVL) acquisition of Future Group’s retail business, as ecommerce giant Amazon moved against it in the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) in October, there is a sight of hope for the Rs 247.13 billion deal, which is quite dear to Reliance Industry Limited’s (RIL) owner Mukesh Ambani, as the Competition Commission of India (CCI) gave a green signal to the acquisition on November 10th 2020. The CCI approval for Reliance’s acquisition of Future Group’s retail business helped the RIL immensely in the share market and regain its share prices.
Soon after the CCI approval for Reliance’s acquisition of Future Group’s retail business became public, the RIL share prices experienced a steep jump. On November 23rd, the RIL share prices jumped by 3% in the morning session. The RIL stocks traded at Rs 1,958.85, 3.14% higher. It touched an intraday high of Rs 1,958.85 and an intraday low of Rs 1,929. But only RIL wasn’t the gainer.
Even Future Retails’ share price reached Rs 79, which is a 10% jump. Amazon’s move at the SIAC was worrisome for the Kishore Biyani-owned conglomerate, as it was willing to sail through its worst phase by selling the retail business to Ambani. Under the deal, RRVL, along with Reliance Retail and Fashion Lifestyle Limited, have bought the Future Group’s retail, wholesale, logistics and warehousing businesses.
RRVL’s acquisition of the Future Group’s retail business has been one of the biggest deals in India’s organised retail and ecommerce space, which got the backing from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is the biggest beneficiary of Mr Ambani’s largesse when it comes to donation. The CCI approval for Reliance’s acquisition of Future Group’s retail business is seen as a token of gratitude from the Modi regime and the BJP towards Mr Ambani and his RIL-led conglomerate.
Mr Ambani targeted Future Group’s retail wing to add teeth to his RRVL’s expansion spree, which, together with the JioMart network, plans to dominate both brick and mortar as well as ecommerce space in India. This, when patronised by the Modi regime and the BJP, makes Ambani’s juggernaut unstoppable in India’s burgeoning retail space. As Mr Ambani lost in the stock market after Amazon complained in the SIAC and fell from the position of the world’s sixth richest man in the Bloomberg Billionaires List, this CCI approval for Reliance’s acquisition of Future Group’s retail business is a boon for him and will surely aid him to recover his lost fortune.
One must see the market’s optimism regarding Ambani’s cronyism and influence. Soon after the CCI approval for Reliance’s acquisition of Future Group’s retail business became public, the share prices of RIL experienced massive gains as the speculators believe Mr Ambani will checkmate Jeff Bezos’s Amazon in India and force it to negotiate a deal with the RRVL and JioMart. In case Mr Ambani gets Amazon to invest in his company, which Bezos has been interested in, there will be a rapid monopolisation of the Indian ecommerce and retail space, and thanks to the newly passed amendments to the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, and the new three anti-farmer laws by the Modi regime, there will be massive exploitation of the Indian people by fuelling retail inflation inorganically.
As the middle class and the rich will be able to survive the inflation due to their parasitic existence on the labour of the poor, it’s the latter, the working class and the peasantry, who will suffer the most. By ignoring the clear signs of consolidation of the retail market and monopolisation of the sector, the CCI approval for Reliance’s acquisition of Future Group’s retail business indicates the government’s eagerness to push the poor under the bus vigorously than ever to fill the coffers of Ambani and his ilk.
It’s important now for the common people’s sake that democratic and progressive forces must oppose the CCI approval for Reliance’s acquisition of Future Group’s retail business and force the government to impose restrictions on all attempts to monopolise retail space. The Modi regime and the BJP may be unabashedly pushing the cause of Reliance and Ambani, but this will gradually become the biggest threat to the existence of not only small traders and businesses but also to the large section of small farmers and landless peasantry.