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04 December 2023

Al Futtaim denies report of Jumbo Group takeover

By Vigyan Arya



Al Futtaim Group has denied reports in the Indian media it intends to acquire Jumbo Group’s flagship company Jumbo Electronics.


“We are amazed at this report that appeared in the Indian newspapers and have no idea from where they sourced this information,” said Vishesh Bhatia, group director – electronics, engineering and technologies, Al Futtaim Group.


He was responding to a  news report that appeared in the Mumbai edition of the Economic Times. The report said: “Al Futtaim Group is in talks with the Rs1,000 crore (Dh1 billion) Jumbo group, the one-time owner of Indian spirit and beer major Shaw Wallace, for a stake in Jumbo’s flagship company, Jumbo Electronics, the sole distributor of Sony products in the UAE.”


Al Futtaim Group has been shopping for acquisitions and has been looking at some companies in the Gulf Co-operation Council and the East Asia.


However, sources said nothing concrete had materialised yet.


Market observers, however, gave an apprehensive response to the reports in Indian media.


“There have been a few queries from various quarters, probably including Al Futtaim, for a complete takeover or partial acquisition of Jumbo Group,” said one industry observer, who has worked closely with Jumbo Electronics.


Jumbo officials brushed off the report as being speculative and pointed out that the report had not attributed the claim to any source.


Jumbo Group, founded by its late chairman Manu Chhabria in 1974, had exited its Indian business after the death of Chhabria. Shaw Wallace, the group’s flagship firm in India, was sold to SABMiller and the Vijay Mallya-led United Breweries.
While the latter bought its spirit business, SABMiller took over the beer business, which at that time was the closest competitor to UB Group. Hindustan Dorr-Oliver and Dunlop Tyres were among the other firms it sold while exiting its interests in India.


Al Futtaim Group represents brands including Toyota, Lexus, Volvo, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge, Toshiba, Sanyo, Aftron, Alcaterl, Ikea, Ace and Marks & Spencer. Its latest venture is Dubai Festival City, which it calls a city within the city, covering 1,600 acres, stretching across  four kilometres along Dubai Creek.



The number:


Dh1bn The value of  the Jumbo Group. Jumbo officials have denied a news report in the Indian media about a takeover proposal by Al Futtaim Group