Source: Times of India
BENGALURU/NEW DELHI: India’s online food delivery sector is headed for consolidation as ride-hailing major Uber is looking to sell its UberEats business in the country in the run-up to its public offering, according to three sources familiar with the development. The San Francisco-based company is in talks with Bengaluru-based Swiggy and has also been in discussions with Gurugram-based Zomato for the deal, as the two rivals are competing for market leadership in the space, said these sources.
The transaction will be structured as a share-swap deal, with Uber taking shares in the buyers for the agreed upon valuation. “Swiggy is currently leading the discussions but Zomato is in contention as well,” said one of the sources mentioned earlier, adding that the valuation and share-swap ratios are being discussed.
UberEats’ India business is currently doing 150,000 to 250,000 deliveries a day with a gross sales run-rate of $200-250 million, according to multiple industry executives. Both Swiggy and Zomato do four-five times more deliveries than UberEats, said these executives.
This makes UberEats a contender for a distant third spot in the market, ahead of rival ride-hailing company Ola-owned Foodpanda. “The UberEats India business may get valued at two to three times their gross sales,” said one of the sources mentioned earlier, pegging the valuation at over $500 million.
“We do not comment on rumour or speculation,” said an Uber India spokesperson. When contacted, Swiggy and Zomato spokespersons also declined to comment on rumours and speculation.
The transaction will help Uber cut down loss from the India business as it heads for a public offering. Uber, which has already made a confidential filing with US regulators for an IPO, reported a loss of $1.8 billion for 2018. “UberEats was losing $15-20 million a month in India late last year,” said an investor tracking the space.
India is one of the markets where Uber still sees high loss even as it has sold off operations in China, Russia and Southeast Asia to rivals. While there have been rumours of a potential consolidation with Ola, as both companies share SoftBank as the largest shareholder, these talks have not progressed. This has forced Uber to look at other alternatives.
UberEats had said last year that India is one of its fastest-growing markets, saying that it is adding 4,500 delivery personnel a week and 100 restaurants a day in the country. Both Swiggy and Zomato are said to be losing $30-40 million each month as they offer discounts to customers and incentives to delivery personnel.
Zomato raised $410 million from Ant Financial last year in two rounds of funding. Swiggy was able to mop up $1.3 billion across three rounds, significantly upping the ante.