In a bid to take on Tata Sons and Reliance Industries in the ecommerce segment, Gautam Adani-led Adani Group has announced to invest in Cleartrip Pvt Ltd.
Adani Enterprises has signed a Share Subscription Agreement and Shareholders’ Agreement with Cleartrip and a Shareholders’ Agreement with the existing shareholder Flipkart Marketplace Pvt Ltd for acquiring a “significant minority” stake in the online travel aggregator, the company said in the regulatory filing.
The deal is expected to close in November 2021, subject to customary closing conditions.
Post the investment, Mumbai-based startup will also serve as the — partner online travel aggregator of Adani Group’s companies.
“The parties also wish to enter into a strategic partnership by collaborating with the Company and its group entities in areas such as travel-related products, loyalty programs and other value-added services,” the filing said.
It said that the development would enable Cleartrip to transcend digital boundaries and bring end-to-end travel services online.
The investment will further enhance the strategic partnership between the Adani Group and the Flipkart Group, as both parties work towards serving Indian consumers with a wide gamut of digital offerings, it added.
“The Cleartrip platform will become an essential part of the broader SuperApp journey we have embarked upon,” said Gautam Adani, Chairman of the Adani Group
Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO, Flipkart Group, said, “We strive to strengthen our relationship with the Adani Group and will explore ways in which we can expand our offerings for consumers, leveraging their robust travel infrastructure in the country.”
Founded in 2006 by Hrush Bhatt, Matthew Spacie and Stuart Crighton, Cleartrip, the online travel aggregator was acquired in April this year by Walmart-owned Flipkart in a distress sale. Before getting acquired, Cleartrip had raised about $56 Mn. According to Inc42 sources and several media reports, Flipkart had acquired the company for about $40 Mn.
In the last financial year (FY21), its losses had widened by 77% to INR 25.3 Cr. Its total revenue from operations dropped by almost 70%, from INR 273 Cr in FY20 to INR 79 Cr in FY21.
Recently, Flipkart elevated Ayyappan R, CBO, Myntra as the CEO of Cleartrip. Ayyappan replaced Stuart Crighton, who was leading Cleartrip since its inception in 2006. Crighton will now be focussing on Cleartrip’s international business and growth.
Adani’s Super App Plans
Following the footsteps of Reliance and Tata, in August this year, the conglomerate outlined its plans to enter the super app game. Addressing employees of Adani Digital Labs, a newly incubated division under Adani Enterprises, Gautam Adani had then said that the company must be the “Ferrari of the digital world.”
Adani said that the idea to create a super app took shape in January this year, when two people from the business team showcased a mockup version of the super app to Adani. The group appointed Nitin Sethi as the first employee for the newly formed Digital Labs as a chief digital officer on April 1, 2021. Sethi was previously leading the digital transformation process at IndiGo.
Tata Sons and Reliance have already set the ball rolling on this front with ‘Tata Neu’ and ‘JioMart’, respectively.
While Tata’s digital arm – Tata Digital, has been on an acquisition spree, Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance is leaving no stones unturned to add more portfolio companies to strengthen its super app offer.
While Tata Digital acquired a majority stake in egroccery platform BigBasket, and epharmacy platform 1Mg, with investment in Mukesh Bansal-led Curefit, it has made clear that it will offer a healthy lifestyle to consumers. On the other hand, Reliance has made a dozens of acquisitions to strengthen its Jio universe. A few of these include, Justdial, Netmeds, and Urban Ladder. In Q2FY22, RIL arm Reliance Retail also acquired Milkbasket to strengthen its portfolio.