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Amazon may buy into Future Coupons; Faasos in talks with Temasek, CPPIB for funding
Photo Credit: Reuters

US-based online retailer Amazon.com Inc. is looking to purchase a stake in Kishore Biyani-led Future Coupons Ltd to make sure it doesn't run afoul of India's new foreign investment rules for e-commerce companies, a media report said.

Citing two people aware of the matter it didn't identify, The Economic Times reported that the talks are in final stages and a deal could be announced next month.

Amazon was previously in talks to acquire a stake in Mumbai-listed Future Retail Ltd, operator of the Big Bazaar and HyperCity hypermarkets. But the planned deal hit a hurdle when the government changed rules to ban e-commerce companies from holding a stake in companies that sell on their marketplaces. The new rules came into effect on February 1.

Subsequently, Future Retail decided earlier this month to raise Rs 2,000 crore by issuing preferential warrants to Future Coupons. This was done mainly to restructure the Amazon deal, the report said, adding that the US company will control an 8% stake in Future Retail and adhere to the new government rules.
In another report, The Economic Times said Mumbai-based Rebel Foods Pvt. Ltd, which runs cloud kitchen platform Faasos, has held talks with a bunch of investors to raise funding.

Faasos has held discussions with Multiples PE, Temasek, Goldman Sachs, Falcon Edge and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the report said, citing people familiar with the negotiations. Existing investors Sequoia Capital and Lightbox Ventures are also likely to invest around $20 million in the new round, the report said.

The report also cited Faasos CEO Jaydeep Barman as saying that the company was looking to raise $75-100 million.

The new round could value Faasos around $400 million, the report said.

Meanwhile, telecom operators Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone-Idea Ltd are likely to join their optical fibre businesses to compete with Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, The Times of India said.

The report cited Bharti chairman Sunil Mittal as saying that the company has invited Vodafone-Idea to join the fibre company. The planned move is similar to the creation of telecom tower company Indus Towers, in which both Bharti and Vodafone-Idea were large shareholders.

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio has rapidly expanded since it started operations in late 2016, offering cut-throat data tariffs and free voice calls. Jio's launch created a turmoil in the Indian telecom industry, forcing many smaller operators to either shut shop or merge with bigger rivals such as Bharti Airtel.

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