Lulu Hypermart. An investment firm backed by a member of Abu Dhabi’s royal family agreed to buy a stake worth just over $1 billion in LuLu Group International, according to Bloomberg. Image Credit: Archive

Dubai: An Abu-Dhabi based investment firm has agreed to buy a stake worth just over $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) in LuLu Group International, which runs one of the Middle East’s largest hypermarket chains, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company acquired an almost 20 per cent holding in the Abu Dhabi-based supermarket group founded by Indian entrepreneur Yousuf Ali MA, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. .

“We don’t want to comment on market rumours,” said V. Nandakumar, Lulu’s chief communications officer. “An official statement will be issued if at all there are any updates.”

At just over $1 billion, the LuLu deal ranks among one of the UAE’s largest consumer deals in recent years. Majid Al Futtaim Holding LLC agreed to buy Retail Arabia, the owner of the Geant store franchise in the Middle East, for an undisclosed amount in 2017.

Successful business

Ali is among a group of Indian businessmen who set up large businesses in the UAE and wider Gulf region during a decades-long oil boom.

Others include Sunny Varkey who set up GEMS Education and transformed it to one of the world’s largest privately-owned school operators and Micky Jagtiani of the Landmark Group. LuLu also operates shopping malls and other businesses such as hospitality and real estate.

It had annual turnover of about $7.4 billion and employs more than 50,000 people, according to the company’s website.