Amazon to invest in Fairfax-controlled Quess Corp

Amazon to invest in Fairfax-controlled Quess Corp
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Reuters
15 Jul, 2019

E-commerce giant Amazon will invest Rs 51 crore ($7.4 million) in Bengaluru-based business services provider Quess Corp Ltd.

Quess Corp, controlled by Canadian billionaire Prem Watsa’s Fairfax group, will issue 7.54 lakh preferential shares to Seattle-based Inc. at Rs 676 apiece, the company said in a stock-exchange filing. This is 40% higher than Quess Corp’s closing price of Rs 480.95 on Friday.

Amazon will own a 0.51% stake in the Indian company after the investment, Quess Corp said.

Quess Corp will use the funds to grow the business of its wholly owned subsidiary Qdigi Services Ltd. Qdigi provides after-sales services for mobile phones and consumer electronic goods through a country-wide network of service centres. The investment will help Amazon bolster its after-sales services for these products, which make up a large part of sales on its online platform.

Qdigi was earlier known as HCL Computing Products Ltd and was part of HCL Infosystems Ltd. Quess had acquired HCL Computing in early 2018 for up to Rs 30 crore and renamed it Qdigi.

Quess, earlier known as IKYA Human Capital Solutions Ltd, was founded by serial entrepreneur Isaac in 2007. It was acquired by travel company Thomas Cook in 2013. Thomas Cook itself was acquired in 2012 by Fairfax, which is controlled by India-born Watsa, the founder of Toronto-based Fairfax Financial Holdings.

Apart from India, the company has operations in nine other countries and has a customer base of around 2,000 companies.

Quess, which has an active acquisition strategy, has picked up stakes in close to two dozen companies since 2008.

In its most recent deal, Quess acquired a majority stake in listed peer Allsec Technologies Ltd to boost its offerings in the customer lifecycle management segment.

Last year, it agreed to acquire jobs portal’s India, South East and West Asia units and landscaping firm Greenpiece Landscapes besides HCL Computing Products.

For Amazon, the deal adds to its minority investments in a number of Indian companies. The e-commerce giant has previously in companies such as bus aggregation platform Shuttl, online insurance startup Acko General Insurance Co. Ltd and digital lending platform Capital Float.

These investments are part of the US e-tailing giant’s strategy to ramp up its India play as it takes on the newly formed Walmart-Flipkart combine in the country.