The Two Ambani brothers are among the 5 richest people in India, & in the top 10 around the world, a country of over 1 Billion.
Together the brothers are often monopolies in multiple sectors. From Petrochemicals (Reliance) to Energy distribution (ADAG), Pharmaceuticals (Reliance) to Hospitals (ADAG), SEZ’s (Special Economic Zones- Reliance) to Infrastructure (ADAG).
If one brother does petrochemicals the other does electricity, so literally the entire energy sector’s manufacture, delivery & pricing is controlled by them. This formulae plays out in multiple other related industries.
In any other country the judiciary would already have filed anti-trust & monopoly cases against the Ambani’s. But not in India, where the judiciary tends to do what the government says, and the government tends to be in bed with industrialists. But surely the WTO would have applied pressure in time.
So how did they get away with it? What did they do? They faked a break-up!
Anyone who’s seen Indian Movies knows that one of the most common story plots used is that of warring brothers. So why mess with a time tested formula. Using this as the storyline, the Ambani brothers managed to roll out the Perfect PR Decoy.
They started to war publicly in the media and presented the case, through they’re PR departments, that the differences between the brothers were irreconcilable. Hence each had to go his own way & the company needed to be broken into 2 entities which would be completely independent of each other. The brothers even had a tacit agreement on which industries each brother would rule. Mukesh got all the old established Industries and Anil got a boat load of money (which was quite generous for warring brothers) to start companies in new Industries that Mukesh & Reliance Industries were’t already in.
Doesn’t this sound absurd?
All of Anil’s experience was gained working in those very industries with his father, Ambani Senior. Why would he abandon all his learnings to work in a new industry.
Wouldn’t you think Anil Ambani would want to prove something by beating his brother Mukesh Ambani at his own game, on the same playing field, in the same Industries using his skills to prove that he is the better manager.
But perhaps they really wanted nothing to do with each other and move on for good. Let’s see how the story fares on further inspection.
In order to believe the Ambani’s story one has to believe that the brothers & more importantly their businesses are now 2 different entities and that there is no collusion between them or their companies.
The brothers still live together in the same house. Which Billionaire does that? They were so offended with each other that it was morally acceptable for them to split their beloved father’s businesses but obviously not offended enough to move into separate houses!
Reliance Industries (Mukesh Ambani) & ADAG (Anil Ambani) have been broken up for under 10 years but already they are in business together on Infrastructure, Mining & a few other heavy investment sectors. Who knows how many businesses they will be in by 2020, I fear as many as they can get away with.
Break-up the Monopoly.