Chinese e-commerce major Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has sought approval of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for acquiring stake in online grocery start-up, BigBasket.
“The proposed combination relates to the acquisition and purchase of shares of Supermarket Grocery Supplies (BigBasket parent) by Alibaba Singapore,” according to a CCI notice. The notice, however, did not spell out the details of the proposed investment, including the quantum of stake and the financial value of the deal. Emails sent to Alibaba and BigBasket on seeking CCI approval went unanswered, while Paytm declined to comment.
Earlier this year, there were reports citing people aware of the development that Alibaba, along with Paytm Mall, (in which Alibaba is an investor) were in discussions with BigBasket to pick up a minority stake for about $200 million. Investing in BigBasket would help Alibaba add more muscle to take on US-based rival Amazon, while for Paytm, the move would further strengthen its play in the Indian e-commerce space.
BigBasket has operations in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi-NCR, Ahmedabad, Patna, Kolkata, Jaipur, Vijayawada, Indore, Punjab and Lucknow. The company has raised over $200 million from investors including Abraaj Group, Bessemer Venture Partners, Growthstory, Helion Venture Partners, IFC and Sands Capital.
With people becoming comfortable buying even milk and bread online, the online grocery segment is projected to witness a strong growth over the next few years in India. According to a report by Franchise India, the online groceries market is expected to be Rs270 crore market by 2018-19.