Anil Ambani

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Anil D Ambani
Ambani in 2012
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
In office
2004 (2004)–2006 (2006)
ConstituencyUttar Pradesh
Personal details
Born (1959-06-04) 4 June 1959 (age 64)[1]
(m. 1991)
Alma mater

Anil Dhirubhai Ambani (born 4 June 1959) is an Indian businessman chairman and managing director of Reliance Group (a.k.a. Reliance ADA Group). The Reliance Group was created in July 2006 following a demerger from Reliance Industries Limited. He lead several stocks listed corporations including Reliance Capital,[2] Reliance Infrastructure,[3] Reliance Power and Reliance Communications.[4]

Ambani, once the sixth richest person in the world, declared before a UK court in February 2020 that his net worth is zero and he is bankrupt, although the veracity of that claim is in question.[5] He served in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India from Uttar Pradesh as an Independent MP between 2004 and 2006.[6][7]

Life and education[edit]

Anil Ambani is the younger son of the founder of Reliance Industries, Dhirubhai Ambani and his wife Kokilaben. Ambani has said that his father would lead the brothers on "incentive-oriented outings" where they would be rewarded with a box of mangoes for a 10-km (6 mile) hike, but also punished them for acting out in front of guests.[8] He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Kishinchand Chellaram College and received a Master in Business Administration at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1983.[9]

Business career[edit]

Ambani's father Dhirubhai died in 2002 without leaving a clear succession plan. After bickering between Anil and his brother Mukesh, their mother Kokilaben mediated and split the family owned businesses between the two brothers.[10]

Anil Ambani received parts of Reliance Group with interests in telecom, entertainment, financial services, power and infrastructure.[11] Ambani is also credited with India's largest IPO, that of Reliance Power, which in 2008 was subscribed in less than 60 seconds, the fastest in the history of Indian capital markets to date.[12]

In 2005 Ambani made his debut in the entertainment industry with an acquisition of a majority stake in Adlabs Films, a company with interests in film processing, production, exhibition and digital cinema. The company was renamed Reliance MediaWorks in 2009.[13][14][15] In 2008 a joint venture worth US$1.2 billion with Steven Spielberg's production company DreamWorks cast Ambani's entertainment business on to a global platform.[16] He has contributed to the production of several Spielberg films, including the Academy Award-winning Lincoln.[17][18]

Ambani gained notoriety as one of the fastest destroyers of shareholder wealth in the last 100 years with the combined group market cap declining by 90% since the formation of the Reliance ADA Group.[19][20]

In early 2019, a court in Mumbai held Ambani in criminal contempt for non-payment of personally guaranteed debt Reliance Communications owed to Swedish gear maker Ericsson. Instead of jail time, the court gave him a month to come up with the funds. At the end of the month, Ambani was bailed out by his elder brother, Mukesh Ambani.[8][21]

In April 2019, three ADAG Companies reached standstill agreement with Franklin Templeton after secured NCD default. This led to SEBI changing mutual fund regulation of reducing unlisted NCDs exposure to 10% and making standstill agreement void. In aftermath, FT India didn't sell the pledged securities and wound 6 debt funds affecting 300,000 investors.

In February 2020, Anil Ambani was locked in a legal battle with 3 Chinese banks. He was asked to set aside US$100 million by the court which led him to make the statement that his net worth is currently zero after considering his liabilities.[22] The dispute still rages on with the UK court ordering him to pay the 3 Chinese banks to the tune of US$716 million.[23][24]

In October 2021, Anil Ambani was named in the Pandora Papers along with his brother Mukesh.[25] In January 2023, the Bombay High Court questioned the Income Tax Department's accusation of tax evasion against Anil Ambani after a petition by him challenged the decision of the notice issued by the IT department.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Ambani belongs to a Gujarati family which hails from the village of Chorwad near Junagarh in the Kathiawar region of Gujarat state.[27] He is the son of the legendary textile entrepreneur Dhirubhai Ambani and his wife, Smt. Kokilaben Ambani, a devoted home-maker who has founded the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in suburban Mumbai. Anil is one of four children. He has an older brother, Mukesh Ambani, and two sisters, Smt. Nina Kothari (wife of late Bhadra Shyam Kothari) and Smt. Deepti Salgaocar (wife of Dattaraj Salgoncar).[28]

Anil Ambani is married to the actress Tina Munim.[29] He married her after facing much resistance from his family, due to the fact that she came from the world of fashion and glamour, and her lifestyle choices before marriage had been unconventional. Nevertheless, the couple have had a stable marriage and have two sons, Jai Anmol Ambani and Jai Anshul Ambani.[30] On 20 February 2022, Ambani's elder son, Jai Anmol, married Krisha Shah, daughter of the late Nikunj Shah, a Mumbai-based entrepreneur.[31]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • Conferred the 'Businessman of the Year 1997' award by India's leading business magazine Business India, December 1998.[32]
  • Voted 'the Businessman of the Year' in a poll conducted by The Times of India – TNS, December 2006.[33]
  • Voted the 'Best role model' among business leaders in the biannual Mood of the Nation poll conducted by India Today magazine, August 2006.[34]
  • Conferred 'the CEO of the Year 2004' in the Platts Global Energy Awards.[35]
  • Conferred 'The Entrepreneur of the Decade Award' by the Bombay Management Association, October 2002.[36]
  • Awarded the First Wharton Indian Alumni Award by the Wharton India Economic Forum (WIEF) in recognition of his contribution to the establishment of Reliance as a global leader in many of its business areas, December 2001.[37]
  • Selected by Asiaweek magazine for its list of 'Leaders of the Millennium in Business and Finance' and was introduced as the only 'new hero' in Business and Finance from India, June 1999.[38]

Allegations of political connections[edit]

In 2018, India's principal opposition party, Indian National Congress, accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of favouring Anil Ambani's defence manufacturing company over HAL, a public sector enterprise, in a fighter aircraft deal worth 58,000 crore (equivalent to 780 billion or US$9.7 billion in 2023) with French manufacturing firm Dassault. Ambani, several of whose companies are debt-ridden, has denied all charges of benefiting from crony capitalism. In factual terms, Reliance Defence stood to get just over 3 per cent of the 30,000 crore (equivalent to 400 billion or US$5.0 billion in 2023) Dassault Aviation offsets contract, contrary to the impression that it was to be the biggest beneficiary of the Rafale fighter jet deal.[39]

In a possibly related controversy, one of his businesses partly financed a French film in which former French president Francois Hollande's then-partner had acted around the same time the aircraft deal was being negotiated.[40]


  1. ^ "Anil Ambani Rise and Fall: A Case Study with 7 Valuable Lessons for Entrepreneurs". Selfedu.
  2. ^ "Reliance Capital". Reliance Capital. 17 April 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Reliance Infra". Reliance Infra. 17 April 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  4. ^ "Reliance Communication". Reliance Communication. 17 April 2014. Archived from the original on 3 April 2019. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  5. ^ "Onetime Billionaire Says He's Now Worth Nothing". The Economic Times.
  6. ^ "Anil Ambani to stand for Rajya Sabha". The Economic Times. 16 June 2004. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  7. ^ "Anil Ambani quits as Rajya Sabha MP amid office of profit row". Outlook. 25 March 2006. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  8. ^ a b Altstedter, Ari; Sanjai, P.R. (3 June 2020). "Mukesh Ambani Won the World's Most Expensive Sibling Rivalry". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  9. ^ "Wharton Alumni Magazine: 125 Influential People and Ideas: Anil D. Ambani". Archived from the original on 16 December 2019. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  10. ^ Robin Banerjee (5 August 2019). "Family Business Falacy". Who Blunders and How: The Dumb Side of the Corporate World. SAGE Publications. ISBN 978-93-5328-580-7.
  11. ^ "The Ambani Achievements". 7 July 2002. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  12. ^ "Anil Ambani". EXHIBIT MAGAZINE. 22 May 2014. Archived from the original on 6 February 2015.
  13. ^ "Reliance Cap buys 51% in Adlabs for Rs 360 crore". The Economic Times. Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. 1 July 2005. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  14. ^ "The Reliance-Spielberg Deal: Anil Ambani's Next Blockbuster?". Knowledge@Wharton. The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. 2 October 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  15. ^ "Adlabs Films to be renamed Reliance MediaWorks". Live Mint. HT Media. 4 September 2009. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  16. ^ "DreamWorks to Receive Funds From Reliance". The Wall Street Journal. News Corporation. 10 April 2012. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  17. ^ "Reliance Entertainment [in]". IMDb. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  18. ^ "Lincoln (2012) - Company credits". IMDb. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  19. ^ "DCC wants TRAI to review stand on spectrum pricing, quantum". The Economic Times. 14 June 2019.
  20. ^ "Anil Ambani falls off billionaire club; equity wealth crashes from $42 billion to $0.5 billion".
  21. ^ "Mukesh Ambani: India's richest man helps his brother avoid jail". BBC News. 19 March 2019. Retrieved 11 February 2022.
  22. ^ "One-time billionaire Anil Ambani says he's now worth nothing". The Economic Times. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  23. ^ "UK court order to pay 3 China banks: Anil Ambani denies giving any personal guarantee". The Financial Express. 24 June 2020. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  24. ^ "Mukesh vs Anil: how the Ambani brothers' wealth soared and dipped". South China Morning Post. 20 July 2020. Retrieved 11 February 2022.
  25. ^ Indian, Express (4 October 2021). "After Panama, it's Pandora: facing regulatory heat, elite Indians find new ways to ringfence wealth in secret havens". Indian Express. Retrieved 4 October 2021.
  26. ^ "Anil Ambani case: Bombay HC asks I-T dept how Black Money Act can have retrospective effect". Mid-day. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
  27. ^ "Top 10 Gujarati billionaires". India TV News. 1 August 2015.
  28. ^ "Biggest secrets of Ambani family in pics". The Times of India. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  29. ^ Paranjoy Guha Thakurta; Subir Ghosh; Jyotirmoy Chaudhuri (30 March 2014). GAS WARS: Crony Capitalism and the Ambanis. Paranjoy Guha Thakurta. ISBN 978-81-928551-3-4.
  30. ^ "Tina Ambani got a third baby". Daily News and Analysis. 18 April 2009.
  31. ^ Wedding of Jai Anmol
  32. ^ Bureau, Our (20 July 2004). "Businessman of the Year 1997". Business Standard.
  33. ^ "Reliance Communications Ltd (RLCM.NS)". Reuters. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014.
  34. ^ "Anil Ambani". Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  35. ^ "Anil Ambani is Platts CEO of the Year". Retrieved 11 December 2004.
  36. ^ Bhatia, S. K. (2004). Business Ethics and Corporate Governance. ISBN 9788176295925.
  37. ^ "Wharton India Economic Forum".
  38. ^ "Anil Ambani makes it to Asiaweek's hall of fame".
  39. ^ Pubby, Manu. "Rafale deal: Reliance Defence to get 3% of Rs 30,000 crore offset". The Economic Times. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  40. ^ "Rafale row: Reliance Entertainment confirms it paid 1.4 million Euros for film by Hollande's partner through partner". The Indian Express. 27 September 2018.

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