China’s Alibaba group is in talks to buy a minority stake in Sequoia Capital-backed Dailyhunt (formerly Newhunt), a news aggregator and e-bookstore, reported Livemint, citing two people aware of the development.
Alibaba has already proposed a valuation close to $500 million for Dailyhunt. The talks are, however, not yet conclusive as Dailyhunt is also looking for other funding options apart from Alibaba, said the report.
The deal will be a minority stake sale in which Alibaba is looking to acquire anywhere between 10% to 12%, depending upon the final negotiations, the report further added.
In 2015, Goldman Sachs Group named Dailyhunt as one of the possible “billion-dollar babies” among India’s internet startups. Dailyhunt claims to be India’s largest news and local language content application with over 155 million app installs offering 100,000 news articles in 14 languages, licensed from over 800 publication partners everyday.
Founded in 2009 by former Nokia executives Umesh Kulkarni and Chandrashekhar Sohoni, Dailyhunt was originally launched as eBooks company with brand name of Newshunt. Later in 2012, the company was acquired by Verse Innovation, which raised ₹100 crore from Sequoia in 2014 and then in February 2015 it raised ₹120 crore in Series D from Falcon Edge and in the same year it was rebranded as Dailyhunt.
The startup last raised $25 million in Series D funding led by ByteDance, in October 2016. Till date, Dailyhunt has raised about $67 million in three different rounds, according to data by Crunchbase, a startup funding tracking website.
In July 2016, Dailyhunt had also picked up a minority stake in local news language portal, OneIndia, for Rs. 15 crore.
Beside digital content (Dailyhunt), Alibaba is also reportedly planning to launch an over the top (OTT) video service in India, in association with Paytm and UCWeb.
This month, Alibaba has already invested whopping $500 million in India’s Bigbasket and Zomato. Last month, the Chinese firm also picked up a $35 million stake in logistics startup Xpressbees, spun out of baby products retailer FirstCry.