India’s largest e-grocer BigBasket is in advanced negotiations with the Tata Group, to divest a majority stake in favour of the salt-to-software services conglomerate. The deal, which is still evolving, could see the Bengaluru-based company sell around 50% stake for about $1 billion. This is as per a report in the Economic Times.
China’s internet giant Alibaba, which holds around 26% stake in BigBasket, is expected to sell its entire shareholding in the company along with a group of early backers, said another person who did not want to be identied. Other investors in the e-grocery company include Ascent Capital, CDC Group and the Abraaj Group. “While the talks have been ongoing for some time, it is still work-in-progress as far as the specifics go. It may eventually not lead to a transaction at all,” said one of the people cited above.
Tata Group executives, privy to the discussions, said the conglomerate is likely to execute the deal through its digital arm — Tata Digital — and that (the investment in BigBasket) “is just step one of several other similar tieups and collaborations that the group is looking to strike (in order) to scale its digital presence”.
“This is not an easy deal to pull out with so many investors involved… but there should be some finality to the talks in a couple of weeks,” the sources said.
Separately, BigBasket has also held discussions, sources said, to rope in a bunch of new investors like Singapore’s Temasek, US-based Generation Investment Management, Fidelity and Tybourne Capital, for a $350-400 million financing round. The fundraising process, which began earlier this year, coincided with Reliance Industries announcing its intent to push grocery ecommerce through JioMart. Amazon and Flipkart are the other two deep-pocketed competitors in the grocery segment, which has recorded exponential growth during the pandemic-induced lockdowns.