4:44 am - Wednesday November 4, 2015

Narayana Murthy to partner with Amazon for e-commerce business in India

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NR Narayana Murthy, who is stepping down as the Executive Chairman of InfosysBSE 1.02 %, is getting ready with his next big bet. NRN is giving finishing touches to his plans to make an entry into the e-commerce space with the global giant Amazon. NRN will route his investments through his firm, Catamaran Ventures. When contacted Catamaran confirmed the development.

Arjun Ramegowda Narayanswamy who heads Catamaran Ventures said, “Catamaran is partnering with Amazon Asia to offer services that help offline sellers and SMBs in India to get online and to take advantage of the fast-growing online customer base in the country.” He also added, “NRN does not have a board role at any of our investments.”

Since FDI in e-commerce is not allowed in India, sources suggest that Amazon and Catamaran have consulted top legal firms and come up with a structure in which their venture does not fall under the ambit of FDI restrictions. Amazon and Catamaran are planning to form a joint venture for the back end operations. This will be a holding company in which Catamaran will hold a majority 51% stake. Since this will be an Indian entity, its subsidiary will be called an Indian company too. That subsidiary will roll out the e-commerce business.

Amazon, which entered India last year operates as a third party marketplace operator, providing platform for others to sell, instead of selling directly. This is because of the FDI restrictions in the e-commerce sector. Amazon did not respond to an e-mail query sent by indiavision.

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