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Larry Fink, Bill Gates, Rihanna to join Ambani son’s pre-wedding bash

Three-day gala includes a performance by Rihanna, David Blaine

March 1, 2024 1:57 pm

While the family’s A-list invitees bring along well-wishes for the couple, many also carry India business plans. Photographer: Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times/Getty Images
While the family’s A-list invitees bring along well-wishes for the couple, many also carry India business plans. Photographer: Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

A pre-wedding party for the youngest son of Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, will be a lavish three-day celebration of nuptials and business ties as power players from Wall Street to Silicon Valley converge on a town in Western India.

The gala kicks off Friday in the family’s refinery township of Jamnagar in the western coastal state of Gujarat. It will feature Rihanna and American illusionist David Blaine, according to people familiar with the preparations who asked not to be identified as the details are private — and about 500 types of dishes.

In a country known for wedding spectacles, the pre-nuptial extravaganza for Anant Ambani will not only stand out for its sumptuous feasts and grandeur, but also as a testimony to Ambani’s deepening hold over many areas of the Indian economy. The 66-year-old Indian tycoon’s $262 billion oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd. has cut deals worth billions of dollars with global investors looking for a way to access the country’s 1.4 billion consumers.

The guest list appears to have more RSVPs from global corporate titans than the weddings of Ambani’s two older children in 2018 and 2019, underscoring Reliance’s growing clout and role as conduit to the Indian economy for global tech, media and energy giants.

The likes of Meta Platforms Inc.’s Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft Corp. Co-founder Bill Gates, BlackRock Inc. Co-founder Larry Fink, Alphabet Inc. Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai and Saudi Aramco’s chairman Yasir Al Rumayyan are expected to attend.

A Reliance representative didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the guests and the festivities planned at the Jamnagar event.

Anant Ambani and his fiancée, Radhika Merchant, plan to get married July 12.

The 28-year-old Ambani scion helms Reliance’s green energy business. Anant, along with his older siblings, twins Isha and Akash, was appointed to the board of flagship Reliance Industries last year as their father, who has a net worth of $110 billion, implements a succession plan. Mukesh Ambani faced a bitter fraternal feud after his father died.

Revelers, some of whom will be ferried in on charter flights from New Delhi and Mumbai, will also visit Anant’s passion project — an animal rescue and rehabilitation center housing hundreds of elephants, crocodiles, tigers and lions.

Ivanka Trump, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s Ajit Jain, James Murdoch and Blackstone Group Inc. founder Stephen Schwarzman are also among the invited guests. Others include Wall Street heavyweights like Morgan Stanley Chief Executive Officer Ted Pick and Bollywood stars such as Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan.

While the family’s A-list invitees bring along well-wishes for the couple, many also carry India business plans. Here’s a list of global business luminaries that have gravitated to Ambani’s business orbit over the years.

Mark Zuckerberg

The chairman and CEO of Meta Platforms Inc. has been on a packed trip to Asia this week with stops in Japan, South Korea and India.

In 2020, Meta bought 10% of Reliance’s digital assets for $5.7 billion.

Bob Iger

The CEO of The Walt Disney Co. is celebrating the company’s just-announced merger of its Indian media business with Reliance to create a sector colossus valued at $8.5 billion in one of the world’s fastest-growing entertainment markets.

Sundar Pichai

The CEO’s company Alphabet Inc., which owns Google, in 2020 agreed to buy a 7.7% stake in Reliance’s digital unit. It also announced an investment of $4.5 billion in this alliance and said it will cooperate on technology initiatives, including the development of affordable mobile phones. Pichai also made a guest video appearance at a Reliance shareholders’ meeting the same year.

Yasir Al Rumayyan

The chairman of Saudi Arabian Oil Co. has been on the Reliance board since 2021. His company’s potential deal to buy a stake in Reliance’s energy business for $15 billion went awry in 2021. Al Rumayyan is also the governor of Public Investment Fund, which invested $1.3 billion Reliance’s retail unit in 2020.

Sultan Al Jaber

The CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. oversaw his company becoming a strategic partner with Reliance in a $2 billion chemical project in the United Arab Emirates.

Larry Fink

Fink is the chairman and CEO of BlackRock Inc., which last year set up an asset management venture — named Jio BlackRock — with Ambani’s Jio Financial Services Ltd. It was BlackRock’s return to India after exiting in 2018.

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