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Report: Amazon offers to buy stake in India's Spencer's for $400M

Amazon.com Inc. has offered more than $400 million for a minority stake in RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group Pvt. Ltd.-owned Indian food and grocery retail chain Spencer's Retail Ltd., Business Standard (India) reported Oct. 13, citing people familiar with the development.

Sources told the newspaper that the Seattle-based e-commerce giant will likely bid for a 30% stake in Spencer's.

The companies entered preliminary discussions in August, the same month that the online retailer began formal negotiations for a 12% to 15% stake in retail conglomerate Future Group in exchange for an investment of about $600 million to $700 million, according to an earlier report.

The news comes as Amazon reportedly acquired a 49% stake in Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd.'s Indian grocery chain More in September, alongside private equity firm Samara Capital Management Ltd., which acquired the remaining 51% stake.

Sources added that Spencer's is seeking a better valuation than the More deal, which came in at about 42 billion Indian rupees, the report said.

The size of the U.S. retail giant's investment depends on the size and scale of a firm, sources at Amazon told Business Standard, adding that "More is the fourth-largest supermarket chain in the country and runs 490 supermarkets and 20 hypermarkets."

Spencer's has also been in talks with other key investors, including Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and private equity firms in Singapore and west Asia, according to the newspaper's sources.

The food retailer, which operates 138 stores, plans to add 10 more Spencer's outlets this year, the report added.

As of Oct. 12, US$1 was equivalent to 73.59 Indian rupees.