Zomato-Blinkit deal: all one needs to know

Zomato-Blinkit deal: all one needs to know

Blinkit investor SoftBank set to gain nearly four per cent stake in the food aggregator.


Mumbai: Restaurant aggregator and food delivery company Zomato’s proposal to acquire quick commerce player Blinkit (formerly Grofers) will come up for board approval on 17 June 2022, when the company’s board meets to sign-off on the acquisition.

The deal estimated at $700 million has likely dropped in valuation, stripping the online grocery firm of its prized unicorn status earned last year.

The development emerged two months after reports on the merger deal via share-swap appeared. While the outlines of the deal are still being worked out, Zomato will acquire the shares of the quick commerce startup in an all-stock deal. As per the proposal, Blinkit investors will gain proportionate shares in the listed entity that amounts to a little less than 10 per cent stake in Zomato.  

Softbank Vision Fund, the largest investor in Blinkit, is expected to come away with nearly four per cent stake in the food-tech company if the deal is closed.

Once the board gives its approval, Zomato may not need the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) nod to acquire the Softbank-backed startup, as it plans to make use of an exemption called ‘de-minimis’, which applies to companies of a certain size.

In August 2021, Zomato received CCI’s go ahead for a $100 million investment in Blinkit for little over nine per cent stake.

In its third quarter earnings call earlier in February, Zomato management said that it is aggressively growing in the quick commerce segment and will invest $400 million over the next two years in the category.

Later in March, Blinkit signed a merger agreement with the food aggregator company. Speculations of the deal were doing the rounds in the news since Zomato first invested in the startup. The latest developments coincide with reports of Blinkit laying off staff and delaying vendor payments due to a cash crunch.

The 10-minute grocery delivery market is expected to grow 15 times to reach $5.5 billion by 2025, as per consultancy firm RedSeer. Zomato has attempted to enter this space twice, dropping its plans due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. This latest move helps it gain ground over its arch-rival Swiggy.

Both food aggregators – Zomato and Swiggy – had diversified into grocery delivery as a natural extension of food delivery, by launching the service on their existing apps. While Swiggy continues to offer its Instamart service, Zomato withdrew from grocery deliveries in September 2021 after burning cash to the tune of several millions. Its investment in Blinkit helps it reach scale in the quick commerce sector.

There is no shortage of startups trying to be associated with the promise of quick delivery with players like Dunzo and Zepto in the mix. However, it was Blinkit (Grofers) that pioneered the 10-minute grocery delivery model.