Bloomberg, the media giant which has established near-monopoly in business news and reporting, does a lot of “speculative” stories, probably at the behest of business houses which pay the company. In one such story, the media house reported that Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (RRVL), the retailing arm of oil to telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries Limited, wants to sell 40 per cent stake to Amazon, the big daddy of the retail industry, quoting anonymous sources.
“Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. is offering to sell a roughly $20 billion stake in its retail business to Amazon.com Inc., according to a person with knowledge of the matter,” wrote Anto Antony, a Bloomberg Editor, in a story titled ‘Ambani’s Reliance to Offer $20 Billion Stake in Retail Arm to Amazon.’
The story got widely covered by Indian media houses, and almost every publisher did a story quoting Bloomberg. However, Reliance Industries later squarely rejected the story and called it “speculative”. “We appeal to the media to carefully examine any such speculative information and safeguard themselves and their readers, many of whom are individual retail investors, from publishing/recycling unfounded and/or incorrect news,” the statement said.
“We would like to reiterate that as a policy, we do not comment on media speculation and rumours and we cannot confirm or deny any transaction which may or may not be in the works. Our company evaluates various opportunities on an ongoing basis,” it added.
It is very much evident that this was a ‘hit job’ by Bloomberg, probably at the behest of Amazon or for some other unknown reasons. As of now, Amazon is the undisputed leader in the Indian online retail market but its position is being threatened with the entry of Reliance in the retail sector.
It is very much probable that Amazon wanted to flaunt its deep pockets– given the fact it has a market valuation of at least 5 times more than RIL– and show that Reliance is nowhere in the retailing game. Also, it probably wanted to flaunt that it has got money to buy a large stake in Reliance Retail instead of allowing them to compete. And, the company might have chosen Bloomberg because it is most influential in business media as well as has already done a couple of articles to defame Mukesh Ambani.
Previously, Bloomberg reported that Mukesh Ambani made Anil “beg” for money to save him from being jailed in the Ericsson case. “Although the Ambani clan publicly characterized them as amicable, two people familiar with the talks, who wished to remain anonymous discussing a family matter, used a different descriptor. Mukesh, both said, made Anil “beg” read the report.
From the tone of the report, it became very much evident that Bloomberg is trying to show Mukesh Ambani in a bad light, at a time when he has become the richest man in Asia, and Jio is on the way to become the e-commerce and 5G telecom giant. The report has quoted anonymous sources, and the agenda to demonize Mukesh Ambani was evident from the report.
It seems Jeff Bezos-led Amazon is afraid of competition, that Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance is going to pose in the retail sector, and therefore, it is using fallible media houses like Bloomberg to do hitjobs.
Similar to his father, Mukesh Ambani is known to work for monopoly in the markets. In the early days of the business, his father monopolized the thread-making business, and Mukesh Ambani has himself done the same in the refining and petrochemical business. Now, the company is trying to monopolize the telecommunication market and retailing business also.
There is not an iota of doubt among the analysts that Ambani-led Reliance will give a tough competition to existing e-commerce players as the history of its operations in other sectors suggests. The upcoming years will give us a good show on the competition in the Indian e-commerce market, especially between the richest man in Asia and the richest man in the world- Jeff Bezos.