Reliance Industries (RIL) is in advanced discussions to buy a majority stake in Grab (Grab a Grub Services Pvt. Ltd) , a hyperlocal logistics startup backed by SIDBI Venture Capital, the venture capital arm of Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), reported Times of India (TOI) citing sources familiar with the development.
According to the report, the deal could close within next few weeks and also involve an investment to scale up the Mumbai-based startup. The size of the acquisition could not be ascertained however.
The development comes after the Mukesh Ambani-led company said earlier that it plans to enter the e-commerce segment.
Also in last month, Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of RIL, announced that Reliance Jio and Reliance Retail, the subsidiaries of RIL, will launch a new e-commerce platform, which will initially be rolled for Gujarat retailers and brick & mortar store owners.
Founded in 2014, by Jignesh Patel, Nishant Vora and Pratish Sanghvi,
Grab has raised over Rs 30 crore from financial investors like Oliphans Capital, SIDBI and Sixth Sense Ventures, besides strategic backers like Zomato and Dubai-based logistics company Aramex.
Grab provides third-party, last-mile logistics services for food delivery companies, online pharmacy and grocery delivery, among others. Its logistics service is used by businesses encompassing restaurants, e-commerce companies, retailers, grocers, pharmacies, food tech platforms and banks, among others.
Grab has been talking to potential suitors for the last six-seven months and had also held talks with Paytm for an acquisition, said the TOI report.
Reliance Industries has been acquiring new-age companies since a year and the acquisition activity spikes in last six months.
In December, RIL acquired 5.56% equity stake in VAKT Holdings Limited, a London-based technology startup, for $5 million (around ₹ 35 crore). VAKT uses Blockchain technology for oil & energy trading.
A month before that, Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings Limited (RIIHL) had picked up a controlling stake in New Emerging World of Journalism (NEWJ), a Mumbai-based digital media startup, with an initial investment of over ₹ 1 crore.
In the same month, RIHIL, a wholly-owned subsidiary of RIL, acquired 88% stake in Kanoda Energy, an Ahmedabad-based renewable energy services firm, for ₹ 75 crore (about $10.7 million), in an all-cash deal.
Last year, the company acquired music-streaming service Saavn and merged it with its JioMusic, valuing the combined unit at $1 billion. It also acquired education tech startup Embibe and committed to invest another $180 million in the company.