The public has not been treated to the finer details of the settlement between the Reliance brothers, but industry watchers say the deal must have been more or less fair for both brothers to accept it.
However, the coming years will decide whether it was worth it all, or if it was perhaps better to keep aside individual ambitions and work towards the success of a single Reliance Group
Reliance shareholders across the country breathed a sigh of relief after Kokilaben Ambani (centre) brokered a deal between her feuding sons Mukesh (left) and Anil.-
WHEN Dhirubhai Ambani died two years ago, many people prophesied that it would be only a matter of time before his two sons, heirs to the country’s largest business house, would fall out. Finally, on June 18, their mother, Kokilaben D. “
For the three million Reliance shareholders, the announcement brought a lot of cheer as stock prices of all Reliance companies shot up. For the two brothers, this marks the beginning of their individual empires.
The deal chalked out by Kokilaben and close family friend K.V. Kamath, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director of ICICI, divides the Rs.99,000-crore empire built by Dhirubhai Ambani as fairly as possible between the two brothers. According to the statement issued by the matriarch, “Mukesh will have responsibility for Reliance Industries and IPCL while Anil will have responsibility for Reliance Infocomm, Reliance Energy and Reliance Capital.” Other than stating that “I am confident both Mukesh and Anil will resolutely uphold the values of their father towards protecting and enhancing value for over 3 million shareholders of the Reliance Group which has been the foundation principle on which my husband built India’s largest private sector enterprise,” Kokilaben’s brief one-page press statement gives no further details of the divide. Industry observers say the devil really lies in the detail, but it will probably be many weeks before that information is made public.
Shortly after Kokilaben’s announcement, the younger of the two siblings, Anil Ambani, announced his resignation from the Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) board. Following this, the RIL board met and endorsed the settlement. The day after Anil, who for much of the time had played the victim through the drama, announced the formation of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Enterprises (ADAE), which will be a holding company controlling Reliance Infocomm, Reliance Energy Limited (REL) and Reliance Capital Limited (RCL). At a press conference, Anil said the new entity will invest about Rs.2,000 crores in RCL and Rs.1,000 crores in REL. Mukesh has yet to make a formal announcement regarding his companies.
Ambani, announced a settlement between them by sending out a statement to the press saying: “With the blessings of Srinathji, I have today amicably resolved the issues between my two sons, Mukesh and Anil, keeping in mind the proud legacy of my husband Dhirubhai Ambani
Who got the better of the spoils is debatable. An investment banker, however, said that both the brothers appeared satisfied and hopefully had ended a messy fight. “To have an elder make a decision and for the children to respect those wishes is a typical family way of running a business,” he said. “Nevertheless, unless it was a fair deal, I doubt if the brothers would have accepted what they got.” For instance, Mukesh had to give up his baby – Reliance Infocomm, a potential money-spinner – to Anil to make sure the division was equal. RIL is clearly the cash cow, so it would not have been a balanced deal had Anil not got something as big. With telecom emerging as the economy’s new lead industry, Reliance Infocomm, which is already a dominant player in the industry, has the potential to become huge. “But I think what is more important than who got what here is that the three million investors have not been affected,” he said.