Marico to pick up stake in Ant Farm-incubated fitness startup

FMCG major Marico Ltd has agreed to acquire up to 22.5% stake in the parent of fitness and holistic wellness platform Revofit in a cash deal.

Mumbai-based Revofit is incubated at Ant Farm, the startup accelerator founded by former Times Internet chief executive Rishi Khiani.

Marico said in a disclosure to the stock exchanges that it would acquire the stake through a mix of primary and secondary transactions. The value of the strategic investment, however, was not disclosed.

The FMCG firm will initially pick up 12.66% stake in Revolutionary Fitness Pvt. Ltd. The remaining 9.84% stake will come into play once Revofit achieves certain milestones which have been specified in the agreement.

Incorporated in 2014, Revofit creates customised meal plans and workout regimens for users and helps them stick to their fitness goals. It is also involved in the development and sale of ready-to-eat food through its online platform and at its physical locations.

Saugata Gupta, managing director and chief executive officer of Marico, said the strategic investment complements Marico's aim of participatiing in the nutraceuticals and wellness space.

Sunjay Ghai, co-founder and CEO of Revolutionary Fitness, said Marico's deep domain knowledge in marketing, distribution and product development, will hold his firm in good stead.

Ant Farm

Khiani set up Ant Farm in 2012. It is a hybrid startup platform which helps in ideation or scaling up an existing idea and monitors its execution.

Ad-tech platform Fork Media, food delivery startup Scootsy and UberDreams, which allows users to bid for experiences with celebrities, come under the Ant Farm umbrella.

The accelerator picked up Revofit for incubation in 2014.

Ant Farm had raised an undisclosed amount in Series A funding from Bay Capital and Hausela Capital in 2014.

Marico's bets

The FMCG major, which was founded in 1988, is currently present in South Africa and Egypt in Africa, Malaysia and Vietnam in Southeast Asia, apart from India and Bangladesh in South Asia and some Middle Eastern nations.

Last month, Marico had sold its 45% stake in Mumbai-based startup Bellezimo Professionale Products, which provides skincare products mainly to salon chains, for Rs 1.6 crore ($246,000).

In December, Pankaj Saluja, who was the firm’s chief of strategy, mergers and acquisitions and new business opportunities, resigned. Marico was exploring inorganic growth opportunities under his leadership.

In July last year, Marico had agreed to acquire South African hair styling brand Isoplus for about Rs 36 crore ($5.6 million) in a bid to complete its ethnic hair care portfolio in the country.

A few months before that, the company had entered the male grooming market by picking up a stake in Zed Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd, which owns grooming venture Beardo.

The consumer goods giant, which makes Parachute hair oil and Saffola cooking oil, posted net sales of Rs 4,868 crore for the financial year 2016-17 as compared with Rs 4,947 crore in the previous year.

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