Amazon in talks to invest in MedPlus; Samara nears deal for Spoton Logistics
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E-commerce giant Amazon is in preliminary discussions to invest in Hyderabad-based pharmacy chain MedPlus Health Services Pvt. Ltd, news portal FactorDaily reported citing two people aware of the development.

MedPlus promoter Madhukar Gangadi owns about 90% stake in the company, the report said.

In January, Mint reported that Gangadi had secured around Rs 700-750 crore in debt financing from Goldman Sachs to buy out private equity investors in the pharmacy chain.

The latest development follows reports that Amazon’s local rival Flipkart has been courting online pharma companies as the e-commerce majors look to diversify further.

In a separate development, private equity firm Samara Capital is in the final stage of discussions to buy Spoton Logistics Pvt. Ltd for $80 million (Rs 525 crore), The Times of India reported, citing people aware of the development.

PE firm India Equity Partners holds a stake of around 98% stake in Spoton Logistics while the company’s management owns the rest, according to the report.

Bengaluru-based Spoton was formed in late 2011 when India Equity Partners bought the domestic road business of Dutch freight and logistics giant TNT Express in India. The PE firm has invested Rs 180 crore in Spoton, the report said.

Spoton Logistics was previously on the radar of another PE firm. In August 2017, VCCircle reported that True North was in an initial stage of discussions to buy a majority stake in Spoton.

Samara is investing out of its second fund. The PE firm had raised $263 million for its first fund and $300 million for its second fund. Last month, The Economic Times reported that Samara Capital was looking to float a $550 million fund by the end of 2018.

In 2016-17, the company’s consolidated net sales stood at Rs 2,011.29 crore up from 1,732.83 crore in the previous financial year. Its profit after tax had tripled to Rs 28.83 crore in 2016-17 from Rs 9 crore in 2015-16, according to VCCEdge, the data intelligence platform of VCCircle.

Separately, Mint reported that ed-tech startup Byju’s is in discussions with new and existing investors to raise more than $150 million.

Citing three people aware of the development, the report said the new funding round may value Byju’s around $1.8-2 billion.

The company had last raised funds in July 2017 from Chinese internet conglomerate Tencent.

Run by Bengaluru-based Think and Learn Pvt. Ltd, Byju’s is the most well-funded ed-tech startup in India, having raised around $200 million till date.

Besides Tencent, the ed-tech startup counts the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Belgian family office Verlinvest and the World Bank’s private-sector investment arm, the International Finance Corporation, among its investors.

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