India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani and his brother Anil Ambani have been in a bitter feud ever since the death of their father in 2002.
Ambani’s death sparked a feud for control which ultimately lead to the split of the Reliance Group.
Their mother brokered a demerger in 2005, which gave Mukesh control of oil and gas, petrochemicals, refining and manufacturing while Anil took reign over electricity, telecoms and financial services.
Since the split, the brothers have feuded via press conferences, meetings with the ministers, letters to the Prime Minister, interviews to news channels and dragging each other to court.
We’ve put together a timeline of their feud.
Dhirubhai Ambani, the founder of Reliance Industries died in 2002 after suffering a massive stroke.
The patriarch hadn't left a will and his elder son Mukesh Ambani became chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Ltd while his younger son, Anil Ambani was made vice-chairman.
Mukesh reportedly tried to oust Anil from the board.
In an interview with CNBC TV18 Mukesh Ambani admitted that the brothers disagreed on the running of the Ambani Group. He said: 'Well, there are issues which are ownership issues. These are in the private domain, but as far as Reliance is concerned it is a very-very strong professional company.'
At the time the Ambanis had a 46.67% stake in Reliance Industries Ltd, the public 13.48%, and foreign institutional investors 22.85%.
December 2005: The split is approved as Mukesh gets Reliance Industries & IPCL, and Anil gets Reliance Infocomm, Reliance Energy, and Reliance Capital
The Bombay High Court approved the de-merger for Reliance Industries shareholders after it was accepted by the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange.
Mukesh Ambani got Reliance Industries and IPCL, while Anil was given control of Reliance Infocomm, Reliance Energy and Reliance Capital.
Some shareholders opposed the decision saying it was more a family arrangement than a business separation.
November 2006: Anil Ambani's Reliance Group challenges a gas contract signed by Mukesh's company during the split
Anil Ambani, who controlled Reliance Group, publicly questions the terms of the gas supply agreement signed between Mukesh's Reliance Industries Ltd and Anil's Reliance Natural Resources Ltd at the time of the demerger.
Mukesh's exploration company was reportedly going to sell gas to Anil's power company at a reduced rate. When the government would not approve the deal, Anil suspected covert dealings with his brother.
Anil also said the agreements were signed before Anil took charge of them.
Mukesh's exploration company was supposed to sell gas to Anil's power company at a discounted rate. The deal was vetoed by Deora who said neither company had the right to trade the government's gas at discounted rates. Anil accused Deora of siding with his brother and said the ruling would essentially double Mukesh's gas profits to £6 billion.
At a press conference with shareholders in 2009 Anil said: RIL has tried every trick in the book and apparently several outside the book to back out of its solemn, legal and contractual obligations. It is plain and simple corporate greed of Reliance Industries.'
September 2008: Anil Ambani files a defamation suit over statements Mukesh made to The New York Times
Anil Ambani filed a $2.12 billion defamation suit against Mukesh for remarks he made during an interview with The New York Times.
The Times had written about an 'intelligence agency', a network of lobbyists and spies who gathered information about India's most powerful. Mukesh had in response said that they had 'de-merged all of that' and that those activities were overseen by Anil.
Anil's company, Reliance Communications, called off merger talks with South Africa's MTN, a multinational mobile telecommunications company. The company said there were legal and regulatory issues to deal with.
Mukesh's claim on the shares of Anil's telecom firm was also blamed for the failed deal.
Anil Ambani addressed a letter to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in which he said: 'Major power cuts, especially in north India, have become commonplace, causing grave hardship to hundreds of millions of consumers -- sadly, all a result of RIL's corporate greed.' He also asked that the oil ministry stay out of a commercial dispute between the companies.
In 2008, opposition parties had alleged that the Prime Minister's Office had interfered with Reliance's businesses after Singh's meeting with Mukesh. At the time the office released a statement that said: The PM meets corporate leaders all the time to discuss national economic issues, as any leader of a modern economy would… people of India know Manmohan Singh better than to believe he would get involved in corporate affairs.'
The Ambani brothers lived in 'Seawind' in an upscale neighbourhood of South Mumbai, and restricted meetings to family gatherings or conferences. The Guardian reports:
'There's no conversation, let alone warmth. Sometimes they are forced to shake hands, but they do not look at each other,' said the friend.
'It's a tragedy because they were a class act. One used to start a sentence and the other would finish it. How does that kind of chemistry go wrong?'
Anil Ambani's private helicopter was tampered with and mud and pebbles were found inside the choppers gear box. The Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group filed an official complaint saying that Anil's life was under threat and alleged that his rivals were trying to kill him. The attempt had no links with the feud.
Mysteriously though, Bharat Borge, the man who discovered the pebbles in the fuel tank, was found dead at a train station in Mumbai.
July 2009: A Mumbai court is forced to order the brothers' companies to enter a gas supply agreement
August 2009: Anil Ambani takes out ads criticising his brother's Reliance Industries and the government
Anil Ambani's Reliance Natural Resources Ltd. placed daily advertisements in The Times of India, India's largest newspaper, and 32 other papers alleging that the Indian government had sided with Mukesh's Reliance Industries to raise the price of gas from the The Krishna Godavari basin.
The ad claimed Reliance Industries would gain huge profits and electricity bills would jump by 50%.
August 2009: The Indian finance minister begs the brothers to stop feuding for the sake of the capital markets
India's finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said the corporate dispute had become a matter of 'national interest' and requested the brothers to resolve their dispute privately. He feared the impact of their feud on the markets.
Reliance Industries appeals the High court ruling at the Supreme court. Meanwhile the government filed an appeal at the court saying that gas is state-owned and can't be claimed by corporate entities.
The Supreme Court ruled in Mukesh's favour and declared that Reliance Industries could sell gas to Anil Ambani's Reliance Natural Resources Ltd. at government-set prices that were higher than those agreed on in a 2005 family agreement. Anil said that he would not request a review of the verdict. The companies were given six weeks to renegotiate their agreement.
Kokilaben brokered a peace agreement between the brothers. Officials of Reliance Industries Ltd. and Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group both received notes that said the Ambani brothers would draft a non-compete agreement, to replace an earlier one that obviously didn't work.
'We have parted on a very cordial note and investors should have no fear whatsoever. This is a one-way street...it's a car with no reverse gear... I look at it simply as an issue that needed to be resolved and it has been resolved. It's a new beginning for me and going forward. I am sure Mukesh will do extremely well.'
Sources close to India's richest man, Mukesh Ambani, have said that the billionaire intends to use the joint venture between his Reliance Industries, and American DE Shaw Group, to launch what is being dubbed The Bank of Ambani.
Anil's Reliance Capital already operates in the financial services sector, so if Reliance bank plans take off, the two could face-off again.
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