, March 12 (Reuters) – Indian conglomerate TataSons plans to buy a majority stake in Alibaba-backedonline grocery seller BigBasket, a filing with thecountry’s antitrust body showed on Friday.
The deal, if approved, would put Tata – a more than150-year-old group with interests in everything from luxury carsto software – in direct competition with Amazon,Walmart’s Flipkart and an upstart grocery service fromReliance Industries, backed by billionaire MukeshAmbani.
In the filing with the Competition Commission of India, TataDigital Ltd, a wholly owned unit of Tata Sons, proposed to buy64.3% of an entity that runs business-to-business sales forBigBasket.
Media agencies have reported that the group aims to takecontrol of more than 60% of BigBasket, buying out Chinesee-commerce giant Alibaba’s stake.
The proposal comes as e-commerce sales, especially of foodand groceries, have exploded in India as the COVID-19 pandemicspurred a shift to online shopping.
BigBasket’s rivals are expected to spend heavily on thee-grocery business.
Flipkart has announced plans to expand to more Indiancities, while Reliance’s digital unit – which is likely tosupport its grocery service – has raised more than $20 billionfrom investors including Facebook and Alphabet’sGoogle.(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar in Bengaluru; Editing by MajuSamuel and Sriraj Kalluvila)
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