Trust retail has acquired a majority stake in the furniture and decor platform Urban Ladder, thereby pushing ahead with e-commerce, as the largest retail chain in India is preparing for the fight against Amazon and Flipkart.
In a report to the local stock exchange, Reliance Retail announced that it had acquired a 96% stake in Urban Ladder for about $ 24.43 million. The Indian retail giant, which retains the option to acquire the remaining stake in the seven and a half year old startup, has proposed investing up to $ 10.06 million more in Urban Ladder through December 2023.
Urban Ladder was founded in early 2012 and sells home furniture and decoration products online. It also operates a chain of physical retail stores in several Indian cities. The deal size suggests it was a fire sale.
The startup had raised around $ 115 million from Sequoia Capital, SAIF Partners, Steadview Capital, MIT and other investors, according to Crunchbase and Tracxn. In the fiscal year that ended in March, the Indian startup posted a loss of $ 6.63 million on sales of $ 58.2 million.
Reliance Retail said (PDF) that the investment "will further enable the group's digital and new retail initiatives and expand the group's consumer product range while enhancing user engagement and experience in their retail offerings."
Urban Ladder is the latest acquisition for Reliance Retail, which signed a $ 3.4 billion deal with Future Group earlier this year to acquire several of India's second largest retail chains. In August Reliance acquired a 60% stake in Netmeds' parent company Vitalic for around $ 83.2 million.
Reliance Retail, part of Reliance Industries (India's Most Valuable Company), has raised roughly $ 6.4 billion in the last few months after its sister subsidiary Jio Platforms raised over $ 20 billion from Facebook and Google among other high profile investors this year had secured.
Reliance Retail, which serves more than 3.5 million customers weekly through its nearly 10,000 physical stores in more than 6,500 cities across the country, has entered the e-commerce space through a joint venture with Jio Platforms with JioMart. JioMart is now present in over 200 Indian cities and has a partnership with Facebook for WhatsApp integration.