DE Shaw Might (Help) Start A Bank

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With Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani.

Ambani is known for keeping his cards close to his chest. No surprise, then, that more than a month after he announced his entry into India’s financial services sector via a joint venture with DE Shaw, the US hedge fund, few know exactly what he intends to do in the world of finance. The union between the secretive businessman behind Reliance Industries and the $20bn fund known for using complicated mathematical models to spot market trends has left investors and market observers guessing.

But behind closed doors and in the exclusive clubs where many of Mumbai’s most influential spend their weekends, rumours abound that the billionaire aims to found the first bank owned by an Indian conglomerate.

“[Mukesh] Ambani definitely wants to open a bank,” says a person close to the chairman of Reliance Industries, his flagship holding company. “The man likes to think big when it comes to investing in a new business.” His end goal, say people familiar with the matter, is a “Bank of Ambani” – as some financiers have termed the budding financial venture – that can compete with ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector lender and retail bank.

[FT]

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