, India

Weekly News Wrap: Flipkart bags $3.6b funding from SoftBank; Reliance buys a controlling stake in Just Dial

And US-based Beyond Meat launches a store on JD’s platform.

From Reuters

Walmart-owned Flipkart ushered SoftBank Group back as an investor in a $3.6b funding round, doubling the Indian online retailer's valuation to $37.6b in less than three years and ahead of its expected market debut.

The retail giant bought a 77% stake in Flipkart for $16b in 2018 and since then has expanded to small towns and cities, added more items such as furniture and grocery to its online store and increased its warehouses in its race with Amazon's India unit.

The Bengaluru-based company is aiming for a $50b valuation for its public listing as early as this year and was in talks in the United States for a deal with a blank-check firm, Reuters reported in March.

About $800m of the latest funding came from the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. GIC, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, and Walmart were also amongst the lead investors.

Read more here.

From Bloomberg

Reliance Industries will buy a controlling stake in local search engine and e-commerce marketplace, Just Dial, for as much as $767m (INR57.2b) as Mukesh Ambani’s conglomerate looks to bolster its digital offerings.

India’s most valuable company plans to acquire 66.95% stake in Just Dial through its arm, Reliance Retail Ventures. It will use a combination of preferential allotment, a secondary purchase from founder V.S.S. Mani and an open offer for up to 26%.

The latest transaction gives the retail-to-refining conglomerate a foothold in the gig economy and adds to its bouquet of digital offerings, which includes online retail, music, video streaming, gaming, and financial services.

Reliance, which raised more than $30b by selling stakes in its digital and retail units last year, has been aggressively acquiring local firms to take on rivals such as Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart in a bid to dominate India’s booming e-commerce sector.

Read more here.

From Reuters

US-based Beyond Meat has launched an online store in China on JD’s ecommerce platform, as the plant-based meatmaker aims to boost sales in the world's biggest meat market where consumer interest in meat alternatives is low.

Beyond Meat said in a statement the JD.com store will initially help expand availability of its products in four major cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, and eventually in 300 cities across China.

JD.com's 18 cold chain warehouses will provide delivery of Beyond Meat products to consumers within 48 hours of orders being placed, it said.

Its products are mainly available in China through its partnerships with Starbucks, Yum China, and Alibaba's Freshippo markets. But expanding into the retail segment by selling on JD.com will help it reach a wider audience in the country, which is increasingly purchasing fresh food online.

Read more here.

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