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Ambanis settle row
- Mukesh hands control of four companies

Mumbai, Feb. 7: The warring Ambani siblings have buried the hatchet ' once again ' at the initiative of mother Kokilaben, some reports suggested.

Signalling a truce in the latest slugfest that erupted last Saturday, Mukesh Ambani today handed over control of the four companies that have been spun off Reliance Industries to brother Anil and his camp.

The board meetings of the four demerged companies were convened tonight at Maker Chambers IV ' the headquarters of Reliance Industries ' by Sandeep Tandon, a Mukesh group honcho who headed them as chairman. Tandon and L.V. Merchant, another Mukesh group director, resigned to pave way for the settlement.

Earlier in the day, the Mukesh camp had completed the process of handing over ownership of these companies to the Anil group by completing the transfer of 37 per cent of the shareholding in them.

Anil Ambani will be on the boards of all the four new companies ' Reliance Natural Resources, Reliance Capital Ventures, Reliance Energy Ventures and Reliance Communication Ventures.

His key lieutenants ' Amitabh Jhunjhunwala, Satish Seth, Gautam Doshi and J.P. Chalasani ' have also retained their places on the boards of the four.

“The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere. All contentious issues have been resolved. We have handed over control and ownership of the companies. It will now be the responsibility of the new management headed by Anil and his nominees to list the companies,” Tandon told reporters after the hour-long meeting.

The Anil camp has said that it will go in for staggered listing of the companies. Reliance Energy Ventures and Reliance Capital Ventures will be listed by February 15. Reliance Natural Resources is expected to list by the end of February.

The applications for listing these companies have been sent to the stock exchanges. Reliance Communications Ventures Ltd is unlikely to be listed until the middle of March because the Anil camp hasn’t been able to cull financial information to prepare a document that must accompany a request for listing.

With the ownership and control issues now resolved, the Anil camp intends to sort out differences over the gas supply, non-compete and brand-related agreements Reliance Industries (RIL) has signed with the entities.

The Anil camp has maintained that there were “significant deviations” in the gas supply deal RIL had signed with Reliance Natural Resources. Sources said they intended to hold further discussions with the Mukesh camp to remove the kinks in the deal.

The sources said the listing of Reliance Natural Resources would crucially hinge on having a viable gas supply agreement. “This is the only asset that the company has. There will be negotiations to sort out the differences over the next few days,” they added.

It was late in the afternoon when the first visible signs of a truce started to emerge. Ironically, it came soon after some shadow boxing in the morning with the Anil camp questioning the Mukesh side over the delay in transfer of 12 per cent of the shares belonging to mother Kokilaben to it.

The Mukesh side retaliated by saying that they had transferred 37 per cent of the shareholding in the companies to the Anil camp and 12 per cent of this would have to be given to the matriarch.

The deal to carve up the Rs 100,000 crore Reliance group had been reached almost eight months ago. But after a protracted process of shareholder and court approvals, the demerger appeared to have come unstuck in January when the Mukesh side insisted that the four companies be listed before the shares and control were transferred to Anil.

The Anil camp, on the other hand, wanted the transfer of shares and control of the companies before they listed them on the bourses.

The battle had turned vicious with both sides accusing each other of fraud, criminal intent and stock shenanigans and raising the spectre of a protracted legal battle.

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