Rewind 2019: RIL ups tech acquisition game amid tepid M&A activity

Rewind 2019:  RIL ups tech acquisition game amid tepid M&A activity
Photo Credit: VCCircle

The merger and acquisition activity was a tad quieter in 2019 compared to the previous year in terms of volumes. The space surely lacked the glitz and the glamour of the massive $16 billion acquisition of the Indian ecommerce major Flipkart by US retail giant Walmart.

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries dominated the space, acquiring three startups - ecommerce platform Fynd, data science startup Tesseract and education startup Funtoot - in 2019. The company also inked deals to buy stakes in hyperlocal delivery platform Grab and pharmaceutical industry C-square Info Systems. Haptik, a startup owned by RIL, also acquihired AI-based firm Convrg

Last year, the oil-to-telecom conglomerate had acquired ed-tech platform Embibe for $180 million, providing exit opportunity for venture capital firms Kalaari Capital and Lightbox Ventures.  The company also bought a minority stake in US-based self-drive technology startup SkyTran.


Of the total 59 mergers and acquisitions that took place this year as against the roughly 70 odd in 2018, the technology sector saw the most action with 12 deals. This was followed by healthcare with six deals and fintech, ecommerce and education with four deals each, as per data compiled by TechCircle.  

Amid spiralling losses, hotel unicorn OYO acquired Las Vegas headquartered Hooters Casino Hotel, which was the first deal by the Gurugram-based company to acquire a hotel to launch operations in the market.

The alleged merger of online food delivery platform Zomato with its rival Swiggy also made news this year. The rumoured merger was reportedly denied by Zomato while Swiggy declined to comment on the issue. 


Top M&A deals in 2019:


Online tutoring startup Byju’s acquired the US-based educational games platform Osmo for $120 million. The acquisition is expected to help Byju’s offer learning solutions to children aged between three and eight by tapping into Osmo’s physical-to-digital technology and content.


Atlanta, Georgia -based software maker Ebix acquired online travel portal Yatra for an enterprise value of $337.8 million, in an all stock transaction. As per the agreement, Yatra continued to be independently run and retained its brand and status in India.



Classifieds start-up Quikr acquired Zefo to scale up its pre-owned goods business Quikr Assured. Zefo is an online marketplace specialising in selling refurbished furniture, television, appliances and mobile phones, with operations in four cities.

Medlife International-Myra Medicines

Online pharmacy Medlife International acquired Bengaluru-based medicine-delivery startup Myra in an all-stock deal. Post the acquisition, Medlife will gain access to Myra's express delivery segment and expand the service to 22 cities in the coming months.


Gurugram-based Droom Technology acquired non-banking financial company Xeraphin Finvest in an all-cash deal for $3.5 million in order to inorganically boost it fintech business, Droom Credit, which was launched in 2017. The deal was made with an aim to drive Droom’s to drive loan disbursals for purchasing pre-owned vehicles.



Girnar Software-owned used and new car platform CarDekho acquired Rocket Internet-backed Carmudi, an online car classifieds website in the Philippines, to expand its services across Southeast Asia. The acquisition of Carmudi aligned with Jaipur based CarDekho’s business strategy to expand its footprint across Southeast Asia.


Online mutual funds distribution startup, Scripbox acquired financial advisory platform Upwardly for an undisclosed amount. The 28-member team of Upwardly, also a digital mutual funds distribution platform, also merged with Scripbox.

OYO-Hooters Casino Hotel

In its first property purchase in the US, Softbank-backed OYO, bought the Hooters Casino Hotel in Las Vegas. While the hotel was rebranded and designed, the acquisition was part of OYO’s $300 million commitment in the US.



Advertising technology firm InMobi, through its subsidiary Glance, acquired multilingual short video platform Roposo. The acquisition allowed Glance access to Gurugram-based Roposo’s network of professional, vernacular content creators, users, video technology, platform and brand, Glance used Roposo’s regional influencers and create vernacular video content for the locked smartphone screens, the statement added. Roposo claims more than 42 million users.


Mahindra & Mahindra bought a majority stake in mobility platform Meru cabs for $28 million crore in a bid to participate in the growing shared mobility space. The acquisition followed that of a stake-buy in Zoom Cars. M&M made the first tranche of investment in October. The sector is dominated by heavyweight players Ola and Uber.

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