Godrej Group's hybrid retailer Nature's Basket, has acquired online grocery and daily essentials shopping store Ekstop.com, according to a Livemint report. The financials of the deal remain undisclosed.
However, the report pegs the deal value at Rs 30-40 crore, which includes Nature's Basket taking on debt of Rs 10-15 crore on the books of Ekstop.com.
The report mentions that the company is working at rebranding and integrating Ekstop.com to serve as its online platform, and the new online platform is expected to be launched by March this year. As part of the acquisition, the management of Ekstop will join Nature's Basket.
In November last year, Techcircle.in had exclusively reported that Mumbai-based Buy Daily Retail Pvt Ltd, which runs Ekstop.com along with Ekstop Shop Pvt Ltd, was in advanced talks with four companies including offline retail ventures run by business houses for a possible merger. At the time, the firm was in separate talks with Nature's Basket, Aditya Birla Retail's More, Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Ltd (Mahyco) and a Bangalore-based e-commerce player.
Godrej Group's Nature's Basket, run by Natures Basket Pvt Ltd, is a hybrid retailer. Besides its offline stores, it also runs an online store and delivers to cities like Mumbai, Pune, Delhi NCR, Hyderabad and Bangalore.
When we checked, Ekstop site was no longer operational. While we were able to add items to the shopping cart, we were not able to complete the purchase.
A message on the site reads, "We are upgrading our infrastructure and bringing thousands of more products, faster same-day delivery and other exciting services and updates that will amaze our customers. We will be in several more cities this upcoming year of 2015."
"Ekstop will be ready to serve the customers in an all new upgraded form shortly. Meanwhile, we sincerely apologise for any disruption in service over the next few days," the message further read.
Ekstop was started by Sumant Chopra (CEO) and Shaurya Mehta (COO) in May 2011 but went live only in May 2012. An alumnus of INSEAD business school and Carnegie Mellon University, Chopra has previously worked with Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Microsoft Corporation and Tata Capital. Mehta, who is also from INSEAD and associated with University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has formerly worked with Deloitte and GE Healthcare.
The company is backed by investors such as Ronnie Screwvala's Unilazer Ventures Ltd; Jayesh Parekh, co-founder of Sony Entertainment Television; Deepak Shahdadpuri of DSG Consumer; Patrick Turner, who runs the entrepreneurship department at INSEAD; Jungle Ventures; Sanjay Kamlani, co-chief executive of Pangea3; and some senior executives of Google and McKinsey.
The site is operational only in Mumbai and was believed to be doing 600-800 orders per day as of November last year. The site offers products in a number of categories including groceries, beverages, snacks, health foods, cleaning supplies, electrical equipment, detergents, soaps, shampoos, hair care, dental care, cosmetics, baby products, stationery and healthcare products, etc.
In the online grocery space, the company competes with players like Aaramshop, MyGrahak, Naspers-owned location-based marketplace for fresh food & grocery Tradus.com, LocalBanya and BigBasket.com, the largest grocery e-tailer and the most heavily funded peer.
In September 2014, BigBasket.com, owned and operated by Bangalore-based SuperMarket Grocery Supplies Pvt Ltd, had secured Rs 200 crore ($32.8 million) in its Series B round of funding from Helion Venture Partners and Mumbai-based Zodius Capital. The round also saw participations from its existing investors, including Ascent Capital; Srihari Kumar, founding partner of Singapore-based hedge fund LionRock Capital and former partner at TPG-Axon; and serial entrepreneur K Ganesh.
This is the second such deal in the country where an offline or hybrid player has acquired an e-commerce player. Earlier this month, Mahindra Group, which runs one of the country's largest offline stores chain for baby and infant products under Mom & Me, had acquired Mumbai-based startup Nest Childcare Services Pvt Ltd, which runs e-commerce site for baby related products under Babyoye.com. The financial details of the transaction remain undisclosed.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)