Mukesh Ambani pulls off one shade of overseas M&A

Mukesh D. Ambani, chairman and managing director, Reliance Industries, India, attends a session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on January 29, 2009. — Reuters/File
  • Ambani fails to pursue the big flashy goals that ensnared his countrymen a decade ago.
  • Ambani’s biggest purchase revolves around bolstering the domestic renewable energy business.
  • Most of Ambani’s real and potential targets amount to pocket change for India’s largest company.

MUMBAI: Mukesh Ambani’s passion for overseas shopping is about more than cash. The Indian tycoon has failed to pursue the big flashy goals that tripped up the countrymen a decade ago. Its tacit inclination to siphon off foreign technology is a better strategy anyway.

Ambani’s $212 billion retail from oil Reliance Industries The world trophy sits on a growing store of assets. In the past three years it has picked up the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York, Stoke Park Country Club in England and Hamleys: the British toy store is now in Indian airports and shopping malls. These goals are small, costing less than $100 million each. Reliance’s huge, strategic $6 billion bid with Apollo Global Management ( APO.N ) for Walgreens Boots Alliance’s British pharmacy chain was rejected earlier this year.

For all the hype, the biggest purchase revolves around bolstering its domestic renewable energy business. Ambani It is called “an engine of innovative growth” and “far more global in scope than anything Reliance has done before”.

Topping the list is REC Solar, which was bought from a Chinese seller in 2021 for $770 million. Other deals in its top four cross-border purchases include US-based Ambri, a leader in long-term energy storage solutions, and UK-based Battery Technology. Specialist Faradion. Earlier this month, Reliance bought a majority stake in SenseHawk, which develops software-based management tools for solar power generation.

Most of Ambani’s real and potential targets amount to pocket change for India’s largest company. The deals are not as transformative as Tata Motors’ $2.3 billion purchase of Jaguar Land Rover in 2008, the British marque that continues to burn cash. Nor are they as reckless as Tata Steel’s highly leveraged $13 billion purchase of Corros Steel, which was completed in 2007. But Ambani has spent five times more on overseas acquisitions in the past two years than in the previous five years, DeLogic data shows.

Unknown, after a failed wave at bots, is where Ambani’s global ambitions stop. His company has long exported petroleum products and Reliance is now eyeing to export its “hem-guaranteed” 5G telecom solutions. So far, his deal-making has been measured. The challenge will be to keep his new appetite for acquisition under control.

of Mukesh Ambani Reliance Industries on September 5 announced an agreement to acquire a majority stake in California-based SenseHawk for $32 million. The firm develops software-based management tools for the solar energy generation industry.

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