SoftBank, Alibaba could pump money into Zomato; international expansion on the cards for Gurugram-based firm

Japan's SoftBank Group and China's Alibaba are mulling investments in restaurant search and food delivery firm Zomato, a media report said.

“SoftBank’s meeting with Zomato, held earlier this week, is exploratory in nature. SoftBank discussed business metrics across Zomato’s three main business lines. One of the points of conversations revolved around Zomato’s international expansion over next few years," an unnamed source familiar with the development was quoted as saying by The Economic Times.

Representational image. Zomato

Representational image. Zomato.

The newspaper said that the Japanese conglomerate is tracking India’s 'hot food delivery' space and is looking to finalise a suitable candidate. SoftBank could, in the near future, invest anywhere between $200-400 million in Zomato.

The Masayoshi Son-led group has also held multiple talks with Bengaluru-based food delivery app Swiggy for a possible investment.

Over two months after a unit of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd invested $150 million in Zomato, valuing the Indian food search and delivery service at more than $1 billion, the Chinese conglomerate is now planning to invest another $200 million in the Gurugram-based company, according to this report in The Economic Times.

Ant Financial Services Group, Alibaba’s payment affiliate, on 1 March, also bought $50 million worth of Zomato shares in secondary purchases as part of the aforementioned transaction.

Zomato, which operates in 24 countries, acquired US-based rival Urbanspoon for about $50 million in January 2015.

Over the years, foreign investors have poured billions of dollars into India’s rapidly growing Internet and mobile-based services firms. In some cases, private equity infusions have been utilised to make local acquisitions, to boost market presence in India, which has the world’s third-largest Internet user base.

With inputs from Reuters

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Updated Date: May 17, 2018 15:01 PM

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