CNN Editorial Research
Here is a look at the life of Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL).
Birth date: April 19, 1957
Birth place: Aden, Yemen
Birth name: Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani
Father: Dhirubhai Ambani, founder of Reliance
Mother: Kokilaben Ambani
Marriage: Nita Ambani (1985-present)
Children: Akash and Isha (twins); Anant
Education: Institute of Chemical Technology at the University of Bombay (now Mumbai), bachelor’s in chemical engineering, 1979; Attended Stanford University, 1979-1980
Lifestyle and Wealth
Ambani is a strict vegetarian, teetotaler and an avid fan of Bollywood movies.
At daughter Isha Ambani’s 2018 wedding to businessman Anand Piramal, celebrity guests were treated to an intimate private concert by Beyoncé.
The Ambanis’ 27-story 400,000 square foot tower home in Mumbai is known as Antilia. It reportedly cost $1 billion to build and boasts a spa, three helipads and a 50-seat theater.
RIL is a Fortune Global 500 company and “the largest private sector corporation in India.”
Under Ambani’s leadership, Reliance Industries has grown from a textile and oil and energy company into a sprawling conglomerate that includes retail shops, a mobile and broadband carrier, digital platforms, groceries, electronics and more.
Career, Companies and Family
1957 – After Dhirubhai Ambani returns from Yemen, he starts a small yarn trading firm in Mumbai that he subsequently turns into a thriving textile business.
1977 – The initial public offering of Reliance Textile Industries takes place.
1980 – Withdraws from his MBA program at Stanford University to help build a polyester yarn plant for Reliance in India.
1985 – The company’s name is changed from Reliance Textile Industries Ltd. to Reliance Industries Ltd.
July 6, 2002 – Dhirubhai Ambani passes away at the age of 69. He does not leave a will, sparking a bitter feud between Mukesh Ambani and his younger brother, Anil Ambani, for control of the vast Reliance business empire.
July 31, 2002 – At a board meeting, Mukesh is announced as chairman of the Reliance Group of Industries, and Anil is named vice-chairman and managing director.
November 2004 – A feud between the brothers is made public when the elder Ambani admits there are “ownership issues” at Reliance during an interview with CNBC TV18.
June 18, 2005 – Kokilaben Ambani announces that she has brokered a settlement between her sons to split the $23 billion Reliance Group. Mukesh will control the company’s main oil and petrochemicals assets and textiles along with Reliance Industries, while Anil assumes control of the newer ventures, including telecom and digital businesses. Though separate, both companies will retain the Reliance name.
2008 – Through Reliance Industries, Ambani and his wife, Nita, purchase the cricket team Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League for a reported $111 million.
2010 – The non-profit Reliance Foundation is established, “to provide impetus to various philanthropic initiatives of RIL.”
May 7, 2010 – India’s Supreme Court rules in favor of Mukesh Ambani’s RIL over Anil Ambani’s company, deciding that the natural gas supply price they agreed to in 2005 will have to be renegotiated within six weeks.
September 5, 2016 – Ambani launches a mobile network called Reliance Jio that offers customers six months of free high-speed internet. The move triggers a brutal price war, forcing some companies to eventually quit the mobile market altogether.
March 2019 – Ambani helps pay off a 5.5 billion rupees ($80 million) debt to Swedish mobile firm Ericsson that India’s top court had ordered Anil Ambani and his company, Reliance Communications, pay or face three months in jail.
March-November 2020 – Ambani raises more than $27 billion in investments for Jio Platforms, including $5.7 billion from Facebook and $4.5 billion from Google. Since its inception in 2016, Jio has amassed around 400 million users and launched a streaming service, a video conferencing app, a fiber broadband network and digital payments.
April 30, 2020 – Ambani announces that he won’t be taking home a salary until the impact of the coronavirus pandemic eases.
February 25, 2021 – A car containing explosives and an alleged threat letter is located outside Ambani’s home in Mumbai. On March 14, 2021, Mumbai police officer Sachin Vaze is arrested for his assumed involvement in the case.
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