BENGALURU (Reuters) – Reliance Industries Ltd is in talks to buy online furniture retailer Urban Ladder and milk delivery firm Milkbasket to strengthen its e-commerce business, the Times of India newspaper reported on Monday.
The oil-to-telecoms conglomerate’s talks with Urban Ladder are at an advanced stage, the report said, citing four unnamed sources briefed on the matter. A deal could be pegged at around $30 million, it said, citing https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/ril-may-buy-urban-ladder-milkbasket-to-boost-e-tail/articleshow/77580787.cms one of the sources.
Representatives at Reliance and Urban Ladder did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Milkbasket declined comment.
The news comes as the COVID-19 pandemic forces many Indians indoors, spurring a wave of online shopping, including for daily groceries such as milk.
Reliance, led by Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, launched an online grocery service JioMart in May, a move rivalling Amazon.com Inc and Walmart Inc’s Flipkart in India, a key growth market for e-commerce.
Ambani has raised more than $20 billion in the past few months, including from Facebook and Alphabet’s Google, for Reliance’s digital arm, Jio Platforms.
The Times of India report said, citing a source, that Milkbasket had held talks with Amazon and Alibaba-backed online grocery retailer BigBasket, but the discussions did not result in a deal due to a mismatch in valuation expectations.
(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; Editing by Arun Koyyur)