Reliance in talks to buy online furniture retail, milk delivery startups – report

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, attends the company’s annual general meeting in Mumbai, August 12, 2019. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas/Files

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 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 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)



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