RIL eyes majority stake in Netmeds

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani led petrochemical to telecom giant Reliance Industries (RIL) plan to consolidate its position in digital space and developing of online market-place is already in public knowledge. Further strengthening its place, the plans are afoot to acquire controlling stake of e-pharmacy Netmeds are on advance stage.

The deal may see RIL, through one of its subsidiaries, pay $130-150 million for the asset, which may also include a fresh infusion to expand the operations.
Netmeds, which started operations in 2015, has till date announced three rounds of funding totalling about $100 million. The company was started by Pradeep Dadha, whose family was one of the first distributors for Sun Pharmaceuticals. The distribution business was later acquired by Sun Pharma. Besides Dadha’s family office, the Netmeds backers include healthcare investor OrbiMed, investment bank MAPE Advisory, Sistema Asia Fund and Singapore-based Daun Penh Cambodia Group.

Netmeds already has tied up with Reliance Retail for supplying essentials like groceries to its customers.
This will be the second major move by Reliance in the pharma sector as last year it acquired 82% in Bengaluru-based C-Square Info Solutions, which makes software for distributors, retailers and sales force in the pharma sector, for a total of Rs 82 crore. Some of the clients of the company include Apollo Pharmacy, Adcock Ingram and other players.

RIL is ramping up it’s online-to-offline (O2O) commerce business, first with the tie-up between Reliance Retail and WhatsApp last month. That deal came after WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook agreed to invest $5.7 billion for a 9.99% stake in Jio Platforms, the telecom and digital services business of RIL.
Netmeds generates 90% of its revenue from prescription medicine and over-the-counter drugs.

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