In India’s e-commerce industry, it isn’t just the customers who are scouting for deals.
Online fashion retailer Jabong is the latest industry player said to be shopping around the idea of a merger. According to The Economic Times, the Rocket Internet-backed company is in talks with several competitors, including China’s Alibaba Group, Kishore Biyani-led Future Group, and Myntra, which is owned by Flipkart. Snapdeal and Aditya Birla Group also may make a bid for Jabong, according to a report in the newspaper Mint.
“We, unfortunately, cannot comment on market rumours and speculative reports,” Sanjeev Mohanty, CEO and managing director of Jabong, said in a statement. “As we have said earlier we are always open to engaging with strategic partners in our local markets to build a strong alliance and fully capitalise the business to profitability.”
The buzz about Jabong’s acquisition is not new. Back in November 2014, press reports suggested that Amazon was in talks to acquire the company for $1.2 billion as it looked to counter Flipkart’s acquisition of Myntra. But the talks reportedly failed because the two companies could not reach a consensus on Jabong’s valuation.
In 2014, Jabong was among the two top online fashion retailers in India, competing closely with Myntra. However, over the last two years, the company has lost steam. While Myntra continued to get a massive funding infusion from Flipkart, Jabong could not manage to attract funds to support its business.
What appears to be happening at Jabong is not an isolated incident.
Amid a poor investment environment, mergers and acquisitions among India’s tech startups have picked up in 2016, and e-commerce is leading the wave.
In the last three months, for example, online fashion retailer Voonik acquired four startups, and Craftsvilla, an online store for ethnic products, made three acquisitions.
“This trend will continue because the big players are now scouting for companies that complement their offerings or add new segments that could help them with incremental growth,” said Rishabh Lawania, founder of Delhi-based startup research firm Xeler8. “Also, given the current tight funding scenario, smaller startups won’t be able to raise funds like they could do before. So they will have open themselves to acquisitions.”
Some of the top M&A deals in the B2C startup space in 2016 include: