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Anil Ambani-The Fall of Reliance Group Scion

By News Canvass | Feb 20, 2023

Who doesn’t know the Ambani’s? Reliance one of the most profitable companies in India, is one of the largest companies in India in terms of revenue.   Apart from this it is also the largest employer in India with more than 3, 00,000 employees.

But do you how the largest private sector company started its journey? Ambani brothers have set an example by one becoming the Asia’s richest Man while other going complete bankrupt. Today we will discuss about the Ambani brother which went bankrupt due to his poor decision making-Mr. Anil Dhirubhai Ambani.

Who is Mr. Anil Dhirubhai Ambani?

  • Anil Ambani was born on June 4, 1959. He was born in Mumbai. His father is Mr. Dhirubhai Ambani and Mrs. Kokila Dhirubhai Ambani. Mr. Dhirubhai Ambani was an entrepreneur, Indian Businessman who founded Reliance Industries.
  • He made Reliance Public company in the year 1977. He died in the year 2002. After his death the Reliance group was split among the two brothers i.e. Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani and Anil Dhirubhai Ambani.

Anil Ambani Education and Early Life

  • Anil Ambani completed his graduation in BSC from Kishinchand Chellaram College, Mumbai University and MBA at Wharton, University of Pennsylvania in the year 1983.
  • He returned to India and joined his father in carrying out business as chief executive officer. After Mr. Dhirubhai Ambani suffered from stroke, Anil Ambani took in charge of day to day management of the company’s financial relationship under his father’s oversight.

Anil Ambani Family

  • Anil Dhirubhai Ambani tied knot with Indian Actress Tina Munim in the year 1991 and they have two sons Jai Anmol Ambani and Jai Anshul Ambani. Anil Ambani has two sisters Nina Ambani Kothari and Dipti Ambani Salgaocar and one brother Mukesh Ambani.

 Anil Ambani Biography


Anil Dhirubhai Ambani


63 Years Old



Date of Birth

4 June 1959, Mumbai


Tina Munim


Jai Anmol Ambani and Jai Anshul Ambani


Bachelor of Science and Master in Business Administrative


Mukesh Ambani, Nina Ambani Kothari and Dipti Ambani Salgaocar

Business Career

  • After the death of businesss tycoon Mr. Dhirubhai Ambani, there was will or plan about how the property will be divided among the sons.
  • After the death of father, the two sons had lot of bickering and to solve this matter their mother Mrs. Kokila Dhirubhai Ambani decided to split the business between both of them.
  • After the split, Anil Ambani received Reliance Group and also interests in entertainment, power, infrastructure, telecom and financial services. Also he was credited with the largest Reliance Power IPO in India.
  • The IPO was subscribed to in less than a minute in the year 2008. It was the fastest ever subscription in the history of Indian Capital Market. It raised Rs 11,563 crores. The purpose was to set up 13 gas, coal and hydro power projects. But the projects required cheap gas which Mr. Mukesh Ambani was supposed to supply.
  • Then Mr. Anil took special interest in entertainment industry and so he decided to make his debut with majority of stakes in Adlabs Films in the year 2005.
  • This company worked in exhibition, production, film processing and digital marketing. After nearly four years in the year 2009, this company was renamed as Reliance Media works.
  • Anil Ambani went forward with creating a joint venture between Ambani Media Works and DreamWorks which is a production company of Steen Spielberg. The aim was to make Ambani Media Works in to world platform.
  • Ambani also did a production of some films produced by Steven Spielberg. One of the films it produced was Lincoln which won an Academy Award.
  • In the year 2008, Anil Ambani was named by Forbes the sixth richest person in the world. His net worth at that time was estimated at US$42 billion. Subsequently Anil Acquired novel business such as power generation, financial services and telecom. Everything seemed to be like silver platter but later on Mr. Anil started facing hard times. Here life started giving Anil lemons without sugar and water.
  • The power project never took a swing. The gas prices controlled by the Indian government used to sell it $ 4.2 per million British thermal units. Mr. Mukesh Ambani could not supply the gas at an agreed price of $ 2.34 per million mBtu as pledged to his family.
  • This dispute went to the court where court stated that family agreements cannot be more important than the government policy for gas pricing. This way the power project experienced failure.
  • Several projects for which debts were raised exceeded their stipulated time and this led to piling up of cost up to 1, 20,000 crores debt.

Reliance Communications Failed to honor financial obligations

  • Reliance Communications in 2006 was second biggest telecom company in India. Anil Ambani had 66% stakes in it. Global System for Mobile Communications widely known as GSM, and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) are the two dominant technologies for mobile communications and among the two GSM is an advanced and flexible technology.
  • Reliance Communications when entered in the communication business in 2002 opted for CDMA technology whereas the competitors used GSM and this where RCOM failed miserably. CDMA Technology was limited to 2G and 3G technology alone.
  • Later RCOM got a big hit when Mukesh Ambani launched Jio 4G and after this RCOM got trapped in debts and two stuck in a price war. Ultimately Rcom in 2017 sold its wireless business to Aircel and in 2019 Rcom Cable filed for bankruptcy.

Reliance in Defence Sector

  • Anil Ambani led Reliance infrastructure Limited had acquired Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering for Rs 2082 crore on 5th March 2015.
  • It was not aware of the fact that it was dealing with debt of 7000 crores. National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) took legal action against Pipavav Defence by starting insolvency proceedings for its noncompliance to pay debt taken from Industrial Finance Corporation of India and Industrial Development Bank of India.

 Dreadful Performance of Other Countries

  • Reliance Capital showed dreadful performance. The financial debt of September 2019 was around 19,805 crores whereas Reliance Infrastructure had a debt of over Rs 5,960 crores for 2019. Reliance Capital has two subsidiaries namely Reliance Home Finance and Reliance Commercial Finance.

What Went Wrong for Anil Ambani?

  1. Scandals

  • CBI –Central Bureau of Investigation suspected Mr. Anil Ambani’s involvement in 2G Scandal. He was accused of setting up Swan Telecom to get 2G licenses.  Anil Ambani had unpaid dues to be paid to Ericsson for services to Reliance Communications.
  • Here Anil Ambani could have faced imprisonment for three months in case of non-compliance to pay dues of Rs 580 crore. Mr. Mukesh Ambani saved his brother by paying the money.
  • The next was three Chinese Banks were Anil Ambani had dues. That included Industrial and Commercial bank of China Limited, China Development Bank and Exim Bank of China.
  • He owes more than Rs 5,276 crores including legal costs following which the UK court filed an affidavit. This effected his reputation very badly.
  1. Lacking Vision and Focus

  • Reliance Power IPO which was oversubscribed 73 times and collected a huge amount, the per share price never returned back even near to the issue price. Roughly $ 9 billion of market capitalization went wiped out and billions of wealth of investors evaporated.
  • Reliance Power was new to the market and the IPO was overpriced at Rs 450 which fell to Rs 372.50 and investors lost money in this deal.
  1. No clarity for career

  • Anil Ambani had craze for Bollywood and entertainment industry. And so he expanded his business in the entertainment domain by purchasing multiplex chains Adlabs from entrepreneur Manmohan Shetty in 2005 for Rs 350 crores.
  • He later on became the largest multiplex owner with nearly 700 screens all over India. But as life showed lemons, Reliance Entertainment was piled up with debts and in consequence had to sell hundreds of screens.

Anil Ambani Business today

  • Anil owned business shrank and mergers happened. The merger was for reducing the piled up debt. The Reliance Power which was previously known as Reliance Energy Limited had a subsidiary, Vidharbha Industries Power which was later on taken over by Adani Group. It consequently received an overall rating of (ICRA) D, in issuer not cooperating category as of August 30, 2019.
  • Reliance Natural Resources Limited (RNRL) was merged with Reliance Power. RNRL had a market cap of Rs 6883.64 as of 9th November 2010.
  • Anil Ambani announced his resignation as director of Reliance Power and Reliance Infrastructure. He also had got seat in Rajya Sabha which later on he resigned.
  • In the year 2020, Anil said in London Court My net worth is zero after taking into account my liabilities. In summary, I do not hold any meaningful assets which can be liquidated for the purposes of these proceedings.” 

Lessons We Can Learn from Mr. Anil Dhirubhai Ambani

Dhirubhai Ambani had a perfect rags to riches story whereas his son Anil Ambani had the exact opposite. Anil Ambani faced it all, struggling to pay off his debts. Here are few management lessons we should learn from his failure

  1. Investment decision
  • A good business man is the one who can take quick and correct decisions that too on time. Anil Ambani saw his downfall only because of his bad investment decisions. His investment in entertainment industry, choosing CDMA instead of GSM technology and criminal cases against him are all results of his bad investment decisions.
  1. Cash Hungry Business
  • Patience and Good relations is very important for an entrepreneur. Anil Ambani was prone to taking up capital guzzling projects immediately after the family split. But his decisions did not come out as per his strategy.
  • His battle with his own brother Mukesh Ambani over the price of Gas landed him more in trouble. Anil Ambani’s habit of seeking legal recourse at the drop of a hat made him enemies outside his family too. He had several lawsuits for defamations and allegations against journalists.
  1. Flashy Lifestyles
  • Anil Ambani Loved Flashy lifestyles and he rarely managed his business at micro level. His brother took meetings for hours that too without any break. Anil Ambani had no clear vision of what exactly he wanted from his business.


  • We can say if one has deep vision about business then even failures can be fought easily. You plan yourself and be ready with liquid funds enough to fight cash crunches.
  • But Anil Ambani somewhere failed to understand his own business and he didn’t have any idea how to overcome the challenges.
  • Today the companies under Mr. Anil Ambani may opt for insolvency. He has bought in his elder son Mr. Anmol as a director hoping to grab the opportunity that comes his way.
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