Directory services company JustDial has decided to put its Rs 1000 crore fund raising plan on hold and will instead buy back shares, reports The Economic Times. The company had earlier notified that its board of directors were considering a proposal to buy back shares and were scheduled to meet on June 4 to take a final decision.
The primary objective of this planned fundraise had been acquisitions with a focus on e-commerce. JustDial founder & CEO VSS Mani told ET that valuations of most companies are currently much higher than it should be and that there very few companies of substance, hence they have put their fund raising plans on the back burner till the market settles down a bit.
As of March 31, 2015, JustDial had Rs 781 crore in cash and cash equivalents, though the ET report claims that currently it has Rs 815 crore cash on its books. Having said that, buyback of shares is a very rare occurrence in the Indian consumer Internet and IT services space.
In October last year, JustDial’s board of directors had approved an additional fund raising of Rs 1000 crore (approximately $165 million) “through equity and related instruments”. The company had also clarified that their 2013 IPO was strictly an offer for sale (from investors) and there had been no fresh issue of equity shares. So, JustDial hadn’t raised any funds via that IPO.
JustDial is no longer simply a local businesses listings platform. Earlier this year, the company introduced a marketplace for selling electronics and white goods to bolster its e-commerce ambitions. JustDial’s Search Plus suite of services has also expanded to offer 23 services, including online travel & ticketing and doctor appointment bookings and restaurant merchant management services. It’s also developing a cab-hailing app, which will likely be integrated into the Search Plus suite. The company is also looking to launch its digital payments service JD Cash this year.
Tiger Global stake offload: Over the past couple of months, New York-based hedge fund Tiger Global has offloaded majority of its stake in JustDial. It first sold a 3.4% stake in JustDial for Rs 300 crore in March, followed by shedding an additional 2.1% stake for Rs 162 crore through open market transactions in May, and finally offloading a further 5.37% stake for Rs 408 crore in the same month. Tiger Global is believed to have sold a partial stake during JustDial’s 2013 IPO as well. Following this stake sale, Tiger Global now has 3.81% stake left in JustDial. Tiger Global had invested about Rs 77 crore in JustDial in 2007 and a further Rs 30 crore in 2009.