Amid traders' protest, Kishore Biyani to meet Jeff Bezos on Friday

Topics Kishore Biyani | Jeff Bezos | Amazon

Firms of Kishore Biyani (pictured) and Jeff Bezos already operate their own e-wallets and may look at synergies in the area
Future Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kishore Biyani and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will have a one-on-one meeting in Mumbai on Friday amid protests from traders against e-tailers. While Biyani will be the keynote speaker at Amazon’s SMBhav event on Thursday, the Friday meet is expected to be important as the two chalk out future partnership plans, top sources said.

On the cards is a tie-up in online payments, something the two companies have been contemplating as part of the second phase of their partnership. In the first phase, Amazon becomes the online sales partner for Future Retail, Future Consumer and Future Lifestyle Fashion, respectively. Big Bazaar, on the other hand, is the delivery partner for Amazon Prime customers.

Both firms already operate their own digital wallets, including Amazon Pay and Future Pay, respectively, and may look at synergies in the area, persons in the know said. 

On Wednesday, the US retailer infused Rs 1,751 crore into its digital payments arm as well as Amazon Wholesale in a bid to strengthen their operations, as rivals such as PhonePe, Google Pay and Paytm get aggressive in India.

According to sources, Bezos may not make an announcement in terms of increasing stake in Future Retail as foreign direct investment rules do not permit more than 10 per cent in an Indian entity as a single firm by a foreign portfolio investor (FPI). Amazon has an indirect stake of 3.5 per cent in Future Retail, which it picked up via its acquisition of 49 per cent stake in promoter entity Future Coupons for Rs 1,500 crore. 

The acquisition was made by Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC, a registered FPI, and approval for the same by the Competition Commission of India was granted at the end of November after an intense scrutiny.

Traders had requested Biyani to boycott the SMBhav event, currently on in Delhi. Biyani’s keynote address will begin at 10 AM on Thursday, where he is expected to enumerate the benefits of online-offline partnerships.

In a recent interaction with Business Standard, Biyani had said online and offline retail could co-exist and work together since bricks-and-mortar stores had limited space in terms of stocking inventory versus an e-commerce platform whose ability to provide a range of products was greater. 

“The corner shop will not vanish because convenience and contingency buying will always be there,” he said, adding predatory pricing and exclusive online launches were challenges faced by offline retailers.




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