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Zomato sets sights on Google-backed Dunzo; MT Educare seeks funding from Gaja, WestBridge
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Food delivery and restaurant discovery company Zomato Media Pvt. Ltd is looking to acquire Bengaluru-based on-demand services provider Dunzo Digital Pvt. Ltd, a media report said.

Dunzo will help Zomato gain an edge in expanding its delivery services from food to other products, financial news website Moneycontrol reported, citing a person privy to the development.

The move comes after Zomato rival Swiggy last month launched a new hyperlocal service that would deliver grocery and other essential products.

The report also said that Dunzo has been looking to raise $15-20 million in its next round of funding.

Dunzo, which was launched in 2015, counts tech giant Google and early-stage venture capital firm Blume Ventures among its investors. Its most recent funding round was last month when it raised $6.5 million (around Rs 46 crore) from a clutch of investors including Deep Kalra, chairman at online travel services provider MakeMyTrip.

Meanwhile, MT Educare Ltd is in initial talks with private equity firms Gaja Capital and WestBridge Capital Partners and venture capital firm Lightspeed Venture Partners to raise funding, a media report said.

The company, which is majority-owned by school chain operator Zee Learn Ltd, part of Subhash Chandra-led Essel Group, will use the proceeds towards capital expenditure for its traditional business and to scale its online learning division Robomate, The Economic Times reported, citing two persons in the know.

The report added that the firm’s shareholders proposed to secure fresh capital by borrowing Rs 400 crore, thus increasing the likelihood of a fundraise.

In February last year, Zee Learn agreed to pick up a 44.53% stake in MT Educare from its promoters for Rs 200 crore ($31.3 million). It had also made offered to buy an extra 26% stake in MT Educare.

The education services firm became a listed entity in April 2012. Besides students from class IX, it offers coaching classes to those appearing for engineering and medical entrance exams, chartered accountancy and business administration.

PharmEasy, Ascent Health in merger talks

Online medicine retailer PharmEasy and pharmaceutical supply chain company Ascent Health and Wellness may merge their businesses in an all-stock deal, a report in The Economic Times stated, citing three people in the know.

While the stakeholders of both firms have approved the deal, their boards are yet to sign off on it, the report added.

Ascent owns about 25% stake in PharmEasy, the ET report stated.

If the merger materialises, mid-market private equity firm Everstone Capital will become the largest shareholder in the newly formed entity, which will be the largest in the sector, said the report.

The PE firm may own 35-38% stake in the entity, ET said.

South African conglomerate Naspers will likely invest $100-150 million in the new entity at a valuation of $400-500 million, the ET report stated separately.

Earlier this week, a media report stated that PharmEasy was in talks with Japanese internet conglomerate SoftBank to secure about $100 million (Rs 700 crore) with a valuation of $400 million.

PharmEasy had raised $50 million in an extended Series C round led by new investor Eight Roads Ventures in September last year.

It sells medicines and healthcare products and also connects patients to local pharmacies and diagnostic centres through an integrated online platform. It competes with the likes of NetMeds and 1mg.

Paytm may raise $1.5-2 bn

One97 Communications Ltd, the parent of online payments firm Paytm, is set to receive $1.5-2 billion in fresh capital from new and existing investors, a report in The Economic Times stated, citing people familiar with the development.

Existing investors include Japan’s SoftBank Vision Fund and Alibaba’s Ant Financial, which have already made their investment, one of the people mentioned above told ET.

New investors may also put in money in this round, the report added.

The investment round will value One97 Communications at $16-18 billion. A few months ago, its valuation rose from $10 billion to $16 billion after a stake sale in a secondary deal, the ET report said, citing people in the know.

In August last year, One97 Communication’s valuation reached $10 billion after Berkshire Hathaway, led by billionaire Warren Buffet, invested about $300-350 million in it for a 3-4% stake.

Currently, SoftBank owns a 19% stake in One97, while the Alibaba Group has a 38% holding, said the ET report.

Founded by Vijay Shekhar Sharma, One97 operates digital payments and e-commerce businesses through separate entities. Multi-stage investment firm SAIF Partners is also noe of its investors.

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