The development comes in the wake of a Rs 5,322-crore default by the retailer, which missed the due date for repayment to lenders as a result of the ongoing legal battle with US e-tailer Amazon, among other issues.
SBI Cards operates as a joint venture between private equity firm Carlyle and the State Bank of India (SBI), which is one of the biggest lenders to the cash-strapped Kishore Biyani-led retailer.In addition, Big Bazaar parent Future Retail (FRL) lost around 900 stores in February to Reliance Industries, which had earlier sub-leased these to the retailer. Reliance had moved in to take control of the premises, including issuing offer letters to FRL employees, after the latter failed to pay up accumulating rentals.
TOI was the first to report about the development in its February 26 edition. A FRL spokesperson did not comment for this story, while a questionnaire emailed to SBI did not elicit a response by the time of this edition going to print.
Sources, however, said SBI Card has been trying to move its FBB co-branded card users to other cards for some time now. “They may exit the co-branding initiative altogether now,” said a person familiar with the development. Last year, FRL, which operates various retail formats across India, including Big Bazaar, Koryo, Foodhall and Easyday, had entered into a one-time restructuring (OTR) scheme for companies impacted by the pandemic, with a consortium of banks and was under obligation to raise Rs 3,900 crore before March 31, 2022 by way of equity contribution. It is currently entangled in a long-drawn legal battle with Amazon.