By
Grapevine: Practo raises down round; RIL hardnosed on Amazon in Future Retail
Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Online healthcare portal Practo has raised $32 million (Rs 240 crore) in a new round of funding led by Chinese life insurance conglomerate A1A Company and joined by existing investors Tencent, Sequoia Capital, Sofina Ventures, Matrix Partners, G Capital, and RTP Global, The Ken first reported on Friday.

An Entrackr report citing regulatory filings said that Practo has raised this round at a valuation haircut of at least 50%. It last raised $55 million in its Series D round three years back at a valuation of about $620 million (Rs.4,140 crore)

According to the report, the company has been valued in the range of up to $310 million in the new round.

Meanwhile, there have been hard-nosed negotiations over the extent of stake that Amazon would hold in the combined Reliance-Future entity, people in the know told The Economic Times. 

While Reliance Industries (RIL) is willing to cede only a minor stake of 1-2%, Amazon wants to hold at least 5-6%, these people said.

The purchase of a minority stake in a key Future group holding company last year gave Amazon special rights and also veto power over any investment or sale of stake by promoter Kishore Biyani.

“Reliance had also offered to buy out Amazon’s stake in a separate cash deal. But Amazon wasn’t keen,” said one of the persons.

In another development, GIC and ADIA-backed Greenko has emerged frontrunner to acquire US-based large-scale battery installer NEC Energy Solutions at an enterprise valuation of up to $400 million (Rs 2,990 crore), people aware of the matter told The Economic Times.

Greenko is competing with US-based NextEra Energy and Fluence, a JV between Siemens and AES, the people said. 

Electric car maker Tesla was also in fray but was outbid by the other contenders. A formal announcement is expected this month-end.

The Massachusetts-headquartered division of Japanese technology and electronics conglomerate, NEC Corp, had been trying to sell the business after global prices plunged with fierce competition squeezing margins.

Also, Google is in talks to invest in Bengaluru-based social media firm ShareChat, two people familiar with the matter told The Economic Times

ShareChat is looking to raise up to $200 million (Rs 1,495 crore) to battle it out with over a dozen rivals to fill the gap left by banned Chinese apps including Helo, its prime competitor.

Earlier this month it was reported that Microsoft had also held discussions with Sharechat that counts microblogging platform Twitter as one of its investors. 

Last month it was reported to be in discussions with existing investors SAIF Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners for investment.

Separately, Reliance Industries is tapping every possible opportunity to spread its retail business. Now it is said to be in talks to acquire online furniture brand Urban Ladder, people familiar with the matter told The Times of India.

The discussions with Urban Ladder have been going on for the last few months and are now at an advanced stage, they said. A deal with Urban Ladder could be pegged at around $30 million (Rs 224 crore). 

“They have got interest from other players as well and,” said one of the persons.

Last month it was reported that Urban Ladder is looking for buyers at an enterprise value of Rs 200 crore that is a fourth of what it was valued in an internal round in March 2018.

Reliance has also been in talks to acquire milk delivery platform Milkbasket

This comes at a time when it is already in talks to acquire e-pharmacy start-up Netmeds and has acquired 15% stake in lingerie retailer Zivame.

Also, Mauritius-based investor Royale Partners Investment Fund sought a 10% discount on the previous offer price of Rs 1,150 crore (about $155 million) for Essar group's construction arm.

In February, Mint reported that Royale Partners’ bankruptcy resolution plan for EPC Constructions India Ltd, formerly known as Essar Projects India Ltd, was approved by the debt-laden company's lenders.

Now, the investor has cited value erosion as the reason for the revision in the price as operations of the target firm which was undergoing bankruptcy at the tribunal have stagnated during the insolvency period.

IDBI Bank has rejected the revised offer, The Economic Times said. The lender noted that any change in the resolution plan would be a breach of court directions. The Essar group company owes an IDBI Bank-led consortium Rs 7,000 crore ($935 million).

The lender also ruled out the possibility of reconsidering an offer from ArcelorMittal that had emerged as the second-highest bidder for the Essar group company last year.

Leave Your Comment(s)