Paytm may back BigBasket: Will it be Amazon vs Alibaba eventually?

Even as the anticipated merger between e-tailers Flipkart and Snapdeal continues to grab headlines, an interesting story is unfolding in the online grocery segment. Two of the world’s largest e-commerce players—Amazon and Alibaba—are eying a stronghold in the space by acquiring or, to begin with, investing in BigBasket, the segment leader by a distance.

Last month, it was reported that Amazon had entered into a 60-day exclusivity agreement with BigBasket for a potential acquisition. However, the talks seem to have fizzled out over differences in valuation.

The Economic Times reported earlier in the day that online marketplace Paytm Mall, majority-owned by China’s Alibaba Group Holdings, was in advanced discussions with the homegrown e-grocer for investing about $200 million for a significant minority stake. BigBasket is seeking a pre-money valuation of at least $550 million, and due diligence for the deal has already started, the report added.

BigBasket vital to Paytm’s e-commerce ambitions
An investment in BigBasket will give Paytm the firepower to fight Amazon, which has just received the government’s nod to invest $500 million in India’s food retail sector.


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