Wednesday, April 17

Reliance Retail to acquire 40.95% stake in Just Dial

Mumbai, Jul 18th, 2021: Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL) will acquire a 40.95 percent stake in Just Dial for around $500 million to bolstering its digital services in India.

Reliance investment in Just Dial is part of the conglomerate’s digital bet. Over the past many quarters, Reliance has announced a number of investments in companies like Netmeds, Urban Ladder, and others.

RRVL the retail arm of Reliance Industries Ltd will also make a public announcement for an open offer for acquiring up to 2.17 crore equity shares of Just Dial (representing 26 percent share in the company), in accordance with Sebi Takeover Regulations, a regulatory filing said.

Just Dial founder VSS Mani will continue as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer to lead the company through the next phase of growth, it added.

The transaction is subject to shareholder and other customary closing conditions and approvals.

RRVL Director Isha Ambani said the investment in Just Dial underlines the company’s commitment to “new commerce” by further boosting the digital ecosystem for millions of its partner merchants, micro, small and medium enterprises.

“We look forward to working with the highly experienced management team of Just Dial as we further expand the business going forward,” she added.

Notably, Just Dial has recently launched its B2B marketplace platform JD Mart that is working on enabling manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers in the country to become internet-ready and sell their products online.

Mani said nearly 25 years ago, he had the vision to build a connected single platform dedicated to providing fast, free, reliable, and comprehensive information to our users and connect buyers to sellers.

“Our vision has evolved to not only provide search and discovery but drive commerce across merchants through our B2B platform and enable the further consumer to merchant commerce given our platform engagement. Our strategic partnership with Reliance enables us to realize this vision and transform the business going forward,” Mani added.

The agreement between RRVL, Just Dial Ltd, and VSS Mani and others, entails preferential allotment of 2.12 crore equity shares (equivalent to 25.33 percent post preferential share capital) at 1,022.25 INR per share, and acquisition of 1.31 crore equity shares by RRVL from VSS Mani (15.62 percent post preferential share capital) at 1,020 INR per share.

It also entails shareholders agreement, governing certain internal rights and obligations between the parties, it added.

The capital infused by RRVL will help drive the growth and expansion of Just Dial into a comprehensive local listing and commerce platform. Just Dial has an existing database of about 30.4 million listings and its existing consumer traffic of about 129.1 million quarterly unique users (as of March 31, 2021), the filing said.

Just Dial will expand discovery on its platform and enhance transactions for millions of products and services, it added.

Last year, Reliance Retail had executed India’s largest fundraising in the retail sector, raising close to $6 billion from global investors. It reported a consolidated turnover of USD 21.6 billion and a net profit of USD 750 million for the year ended March 31, 2021.

Flush with funds, RRVL has been aggressively bolstering its digital play. It recently acquired online pharmacy Netmeds for $83 million, online furniture retailer Urban Ladder for $24 million, and online lingerie retailer Zivame, etc. stepping up its play into the fast-growing e-commerce segment.

In August 2020, RRVL had also announced plans to acquire the retail and wholesale business, and the logistics and warehousing unit of Future Group for $3.4 billion. The transaction is, however, pending after US e-commerce major Amazon contested the deal.

RRVL, which has been ramping up its e-commerce venture JioMart, had recently shared plans of onboarding over one crore merchant partners over the next three years. JioMart competes with platforms like Amazon, Walmart-owned Flipkart and others in the burgeoning e-commerce segment in India.

Just Dial’s local search engine platform provides search-related services to users across India through multiple platforms such as websites, apps, via telephone, and text.

Its B2B marketplace platform JD Mart offers digital product catalogs to businesses and aims at digitalizing India’s businesses, especially MSMEs, across categories.