Warburg Pincus gets green light to invest in Ola

Warburg Pincus gets green light to invest in Ola
Photo Credit: 123RF.com
13 Aug, 2021

US-based private equity platform Warburg Pincus has received the green signal from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for its proposed investment in Ola, as the homegrown ride hailing giant braces to go public. 

The CCI said it has approved acquisition of shares by Plum Wood Investment (Warburg Pincus) in ANI Technologies, the parent of Ola. The competition body has also given Ola’s co-founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal to increase his voting rights in the company. 

Warburg Pincus had filed a proposal to invest in Ola with the CCI last month. Separately, Singapore-headquartered investment companies Temasek and Fort Canning had also filed a proposal with the antitrust body for the investment. 

Ola, backed by SoftBank, said last month that Temasek and Warburg Pincus will invest $500 million in the company as it continues to scale up across categories and geographies in its ride-hailing business. (https://www.vccircle.com/ola-says-temasek-warburg-pincus-investing-500-million-in-company 

This investment in Ola comes amidst reports that Ola is preparing to go public. If it does, the ride hailing company will join a string of tech unicorns that have officially kickstarted the process for a public float. Last month, Zomato became the first tech unicorn to list on the domestic bourses. Others such as Paytm, MobiKwik, PolicyBazaar and Nykaa have filed draft papers for IPO. 

Founded in 2010 by Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, Ola serves more than 250 cities across India, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. Its employee count stands at over 7,000. 

Ola has been among the worst-hit technology startups following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in India, as work-from-restrictions and physical distancing norms curbed travel demand. The company’s revenue plunged by almost 95% after the first lockdown in late March, 2020, Aggarwal said in May when the company laid off a third of its employees. 

VCCircle had reported that a fund managed by Vanguard Group, a US-based investment firm, slashed Ola’s valuation by a little more than half as of June 2020 compared with previous December.