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Jewellery makers Gitanjali Gems has acquired a 70% stake in mobile retail chain MobileNXT Teleservices Pvt Ltd. The Bangalore-based firm will now be branded as 'Hoop' and will sell items like fashion jewellery, watches, eyewear, etc. besides mobile phones. MobileNXT has raised funding from TV18, Avendus and some angel investors.

MobileNXT is founded by Vijay Menon (CEO) and Romy Juneja (COO). It has 21 stores in South India, which include outlets in tier-II and tier-III cities. Gitanjali has done the acquisition through its unit Gitanjali Lifestyle Ltd, it informed the exchanges.

The mobile retail market, whose estimated size is Rs 50,000 crore, has seen some M&A activity earlier this year. BK Modi's HotSpot brand of stores acquired a 100% stake in the Indian arm of Dubai-based mobile retail chain Cellucom in an all stock deal in February. Cellucom was operating a JV with RPG Group, which the latter exited in favour of the former late last year.

The sector has attracted interest from private equity players also. Peepul Capital invested Rs 100 crore in Chennai-based retail chain UniverCell, which currently has a presence in South India, in 2007.

Essar Groups' The Mobilestore, which has around 1,400 stores, plans to raise $75 million from private equity investors.

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