RIL said late on Tuesday, August 18, that its retail unit has acquired a majority equity stake in online pharma company Netmeds for around Rs 620 crore, directly taking on Amazon which forayed into the e-pharmacy business last week.
The oil-to-retail conglomerate said Reliance Retail Ventures has acquired a majority stake in Vitalic Health and its subsidiaries collectively known as Netmeds for a cash consideration of around Rs 620 crore.
This investment represents around 60% holding in the equity share capital of Vitalic and 100% direct equity ownership of its subsidiaries, viz: Tresara Health, Netmeds Market Place and Dadha Pharma Distribution.
“This investment is aligned with our commitment to provide digital access for everyone in India,” said Isha Ambani, Director of Reliance Retail Ventures.
“The addition of Netmeds enhances Reliance Retail’s ability to provide good quality and affordable healthcare products and services, and also broadens its digital commerce proposition to include most daily essential needs of consumers,” she added.
Incorporated in 2015, Vitalic and its subsidiaries are in the business of pharma distribution, sales, and business support services. Its subsidiary also runs an online pharmacy platform – Netmeds – to connect customers to pharmacists and enable door-step delivery of medicines, nutritional health and wellness products.
Netmeds is promoted by Dadha Pharma, a Chennai-based company. The Dadha family’s pharmaceutical experience dates back to 1914, when they ventured first into the pharma retailing business and then into drug manufacturing in 1972, Reliance Industries said in a release.
The e-pharmacy business has seen a lot of action in the recent week. While Amazon launched its ‘Amazon Pharmacy’ in Bengaluru last week and will conduct pilots in other cities, a Times of India report suggests Walmart-owned Flipkart is also looking to foray in the space.
Earlier on Tuesday, online medical store PharmEasy agreed to merge with smaller rival Medlife, filings with India’s antitrust body show. ET reported the combined entity could be valued at around $1.2 billion.
Ahead of the announcement, Reliance Industries shares closed 1.31% higher at Rs 2,118.75. They have jumped 144% from the lows seen in March.