In a move that would strengthen the e-commerce strategies of Reliance Industries, the Mukesh Ambani-led conglomerate is about to conclude on a deal that would see it acquire stakes in some of the units of Future Group, said several media outlets via Bloomberg reported, citing people privy with the matter.

According to the report, an agreement between Reliance and Future Group, could be announced by next month. The on-going negotiation includes Future Retail as well as other retail units of Future Group.

Reliance is offering to buy into the Future group's holding company, in which family of Kishore Biyani, founder and chief executive officer of Future Group, holds stakes in. Since March, family of Kishore Biyani, founder and chief executive officer of Future Group, had been negotiating with creditors to sell shares in several group companies, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News in March.

The report further said that, the Future Group was in talks with PremjiInvest and Samara Capital for stake sale in Future Retail. The talks involving Future Group are part of the intensifying war to win over the Indian shopper -- both online and in physical stores.

If any deal is materialized, then it would be a breather for the Future Group as in March Biyani had defaulted on loans. Various rating agencies like Standard & Poor's and Fitch downgraded credit ratings of Future Retail after the default and invocation of pledged shares by lenders. The Promoter & Promoter Group held 40.31 per cent stake in Future Retail as of March 31, 2020.

The holding firm, through which Biyani's family owns its stake in the units, owes money to the lenders including Apollo Global Management Inc., Blackstone Group Inc. and UBS Group AG. The listed entities have debt of about 100 billion rupees ($1.3 billion), while the amount is similar for the holding vehicles of the family, the people said.

Future Retail operates 1,500 retail stores that cover over 16 million square feet of retail space in 400 cities. It has large format stores, Big Bazaar, its flagship chain, besides small store neighbourhood retail chains, EasyDay Club and Heritage Fresh.

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