BusinessLive was told by BusinessLive that Indian billionaire Mukesh ambani is interested in purchasing the high-street Boots business. He had previously considered, but then dropped, a bid to buy Chelsea FC. According to a source, Mr. Ambani is interested in establishing a foothold in the UK because of its transparent regulations. After Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea, was sanctioned by government officials for his links to Russian President Vladimir Putin, they said that he had considered buying Chelsea. The Chelsea sale will be concluded in May. Todd Boehly and Sir Martin Broughton are the remaining candidates to the Stamford Bridge helm. Reliance Industries, owned by Mr Ambani, has denied that it was plotting to take over BT UK.
According to the Financial Times Reliance has partnered with Apollo in New York on a deal which could lead to Boots opening across Asia and India. BusinessLive was informed by Reliance Industries that four representatives visited Boots’ headquarters in Nottingham as well as its London offices to conduct “due diligence”, before reporting back to the Mumbai board.
According to the source, it was a courtesy visit but confidential. Two of the members of the team were from an accountants firm in London. “They said it was a very fruitful visit, and that they would report back to the board. “The business also did due diligence on Chelsea. However, they chose to withdraw from that. They visited the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, and the financial advisors to Chelsea. “A meeting was held in a hotel and golf course that Reliance has outside London. “They were also interested in BT last year, but nothing happened – I believe some of that business was too tightly linked to the UK. They are interested in a UK presence as well as a presence on UK stock exchanges.
“The thing that appeals to them about this country is not banking or insurance but our regulatory system – knowing you can invest and that regulators will do what is right to protect your interests. “The Boots team reported back that they were optimistic about the visit. “If they don’t buy Boots, they will continue looking because this country still has a lot of things to offer.”
According to reports, Boots, which has more than 2,200 UK shops, could be worth as high as PS6 billion. Final bids have to be received by mid-May for the high street pharmacy chemist, according to reports. The billionaire Issa brothers, and TDR Capital are reported to be involved in the Asda takeover. Sky News reported however that an initial frontrunner, a joint offer by Bain Capital Partners and CVC Capital Partners had been withdrawn.