Reliance Industries-owned Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd, today announced the acquisition of a controlling stake in Justdial Limited for Rs 3,497 crore ($469 million). As part of the deal, Reliance Retail will hold 40.95% and will make an open offer to acquire up to 26% in accordance with takeover regulations.
With this acquisition, Reliance will now have access to Justdial's merchant database of the 25-year-old listings company.
According to the company's statement, Reliance Retail would make a public announcement to the public shareholders of JustDial to acquire up to 2.17 crore equity shares, representing 26% in accordance with SEBI Takeover Regulations.
Speaking about the partnership, Isha Ambani, Director of RRVL, said:
"Reliance is excited to partner with Justdial. "The investment in Justdial underlines our commitment to new commerce by further boosting the digital ecosystem for millions of our partner merchants, micro, small and medium enterprises."
The company also stated that VSS Mani will continue to lead Justdial as managing director and chief executive officer (CEO). Justdial founder and CEO VSS Mani stated that nearly 25 years ago, the company had the vision to build a platform that would provide users with fast, free, reliable, and comprehensive information, as well as connect buyers and sellers.
"Our vision has evolved to not only provide search and discovery but drive commerce across merchants through our B2B platform and enable further consumer to merchant commerce given our platform engagement. Our strategic partnership with Reliance enables us to realize this vision and transform the business going forward,” Mani adds.
The transaction is subject to shareholder and other customary closing conditions and approvals.
With 150 million average quarterly unique visitors, Justdial is the market leader in the local search engine segment. Both parties have been in talks since April. Earlier, it was reported that Justdial was in talks with Tata Sons about investing in Tata Digital's super app. Those discussions, however, appear to have come to an abrupt end.
As of March 31, 2021, Just Dial had 30.4 million listings and 129.1 million quarterly unique users across the web, mobile, App, and voice platforms. JD Mart, the company's B2B marketplace platform, was recently launched to connect India's manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers to customers.
Morgan Stanley served as financial advisor to Reliance Retail, JM Financial served as open offer manager, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas and Khaitan & Coas served as legal advisors, and Deloitte served as accounting and tax advisors.
JustDial and its promoters were advised by Goldman Sachs as their exclusive financial advisor, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas as their legal advisor, and Ernst & Young as their tax advisory and diligence firm.
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