Chinese travel services firm Ctrip may invest $100 million (Rs 724 crore at current exchange rates) in online restaurant discovery and food delivery company Zomato, The Times of India reported, citing two people in the know.
The current investment into Zomato, if it goes through, will be part of a larger funding round, which may go up to $400 million (Rs 2,800 crore), the aforementioned people said.
The transaction will value Zomato at about $1.8-2 billion, the persons mentioned above told TOI.
Besides Ctrip, Zomato’s existing investors Ant Financial, the payments arm of China’s Alibaba, and new financial investors will also put in money in this round, the report added.
According to TOI, the discussions are in the final stages. “While (Ctrip’s) investment is purely financial, the two companies may explore synergies, which will be strategic in nature going forward,” another person in the know TOI.
A Zomato spokesperson declined to comment on the development, while Ctrip could not be immediately reached.
In June, a report in Mint stated that Zomato was in talks to raise $400 million from Ant Financial, Singapore state investment firm Temasek and the Alibaba Group. Japanese internet conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp was also reportedly in discussions to invest in the company.
If the deal is completed, it will be Ctrip’s first bet in the food business in India. Its only other investment in the country is online travel agency MakeMyTrip, also a Nasdaq-listed entity. In January 2016, it invested $180 million for a 26.6% stake in the online travel services provider.
The Chinese behemoth was also part of MakeMyTrip’s $330-million (Rs 2,116 crore) funding round in May 2017, which also involved South African technology group Naspers and others.
Ctrip provides travel services including accommodation reservation, transportation ticketing, packaged tours and corporate travel management.
In 2016, it acquired global travel search site Skyscanner Holdings Ltd, for nearly £1.4 billion ($1.74 billion) in its bid to grow bookings for hotels, rental cars and flights for travelers.
The restaurants listing firm had last raised capital in February this year from Alibaba’s Ant Financial, which had put in $200 million. Info Edge (India) Ltd, which owns jobs portal Naukri.com, divested a 6.66% stake in the company for $50 million. The deal valued the Gurgaon-headquartered firm at around $760 million.
Gurugram-based Zomato Media Pvt. Ltd was founded in 2008 by IIT-Delhi alumni Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah, who were both executives at management consultancy firm Bain & Company.
In September last year, it acquired on-demand logistics and food delivery startup Runnr.
Zomato competes with online food delivery startup Swiggy, which is also in talks with existing and new investors to raise around $250-500 million at a valuation of $2.3-2.5 billion, as per media reports. This development comes after it raised $210 million (around Rs 1,400 crore) in a Series G investment round in June this year led by South African technology conglomerate Naspers and Yuri Milner-led DST Global.