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Grapevine: Paytm Mall eyes stake in Grofers; RIL’s retail arms serve exit notice to Nexus Malls
Photo Credit: VCCircle

Online retailer Paytm Mall is in talks with e-grocer Grofers India Pvt. Ltd for a potential investment or a merger, multiple people in the know told The Economic Times.

Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, a common investor in Paytm Mall and Grofers, initiated the deal talks, the people said.

For SoftBank, the push to bring the companies together is largely aimed at helping Grofers access Paytm Mall’s about $170 million cash on hand to extend its runway.

The talks may fall apart as there is a disagreement between both the companies on deal terms.

Separately, Paytm Mall has also held discussions to invest in or acquire milk delivery startup Milk-Basket, as it explores multiple other options in the online grocery segment, the people added.

Meanwhile, Reliance Retail Ltd and Reliance Brands Ltd have jointly served termination notices, ending leases of dozens of outlets in nine of the Blackstone-owned Nexus Malls, three people familiar with the development told The Economic Times.

Reliance Retail had made repeated requests for rent waivers or rebates to Nexus for the lockdown period, invoking force majeure, however, Nexus said the clause was not applicable according to the lease agreements, the people said.

“Nexus hardened their stand saying they will adjust the rents (for those months) from security deposits,” said one of the persons cited above.

In another development, SoftBank-backed renewable energy firm SBG Cleantech, its 80:20 joint venture with Bharti, is looking to raise up to $750 million and will reach out to financial and strategic investors for its ongoing and pipeline projects in India and the US, multiple people aware of the development told The Economic Times.

Formal outreach to potential investors — global utilities, infra-focused PE funds, pension and sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) — will start in the coming weeks, the people said.

“SB Energy is exploring potential co-investment partnerships to accelerate the growth of its leading renewable energy platform but has no plans to divest the business,” Softbank spokesperson said.

The latest exercise comes after efforts to on-board a marque investor failed as did plans of bond issuance, the people added.

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