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JustDial denies that it is in acquisition talks with Google

JustDial has denied that it is in acquisition talks with Internet giant Google following a news report, the company informed stock exchanges. “We would like to clarify that as of now there is no proposal in respect of the acquisition of the business of Just Dial by Google and news published in Business Standard dated 10 November, 2017 is factually incorrect” the company said.

Business Standard reported that the two companies were in acquisition talks and the publication cited an investment banker who was familiar with the discussion and entered into talks two months ago and that it will take more time for the deal to finalize.

Earlier this year, Google launched a food delivery and services app in India called Areo. The app features local restaurants, food delivery services, and home services such as carpentry, plumbing, electricals, etc. As such, Areo looked like it would be competing with existing services such as JustDial and Zomato.

Collaborators, not competition

Note that JustDial’s management stated that their biggest competition in the market was Google. But in recent times, there has been a thawing in how it views Google.  In August, chief financial officer Abhiskek Bansal said that JustDial is now open to collaborations with Google.

“Okay, you might call Just Dial and Google as competitors but I also look both of them as collaborators as well. Our database of 18.8 million listings, obviously, it is exposed to Google as well. So, when you search any particular category in an area, though you have paid ads coming on top, Just Dial results are also coming in which also enhances user’s experience on Google’s portal as well,” Bansal commented during an analyst call.

However, CEO VSS Mani said that JustDial’s dependency on Google is also reducing and that it is focusing on increasing it organic reach.  He mentioned that direct site traffic was 11%. “Now it has gone up to 15%, which we feel is a big achievement just in three months, you know. And if we continue to do that consistently, we should be able to secure ourselves by getting data traffic,” he added during in the analyst call for the quarter ended June.

For the quarter ended September 2017, JustDial’s unique visitors stood at 105 million, up 37.1% YoY and 4.5% QoQ. Traffic from Mobile stood at 69 million, up 66.3% and 10% QoQ. This accounted for 65.7% of the total traffic share while traffic from Desktop stood at 26.5 million, up 5.1% YoY and down 5.3% QoQ. This accounted for 25.2% of the total traffic share.

Financials

Justdial reported a net profit of Rs 37.5 crore for Q2FY18. Net profit was up 26.5% on a year-on-year (YoY) basis and down 1.8% on a quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) basis. Operating revenue stood at Rs 194.5 crore, showing a growth of 7.9% YoY and 2.3% QoQ.

Total listings on Justdial were 19.8 million, up 17% YoY, adding around 1,021,158 listings during the period. Of these listings, 9.2 million were with geocodes, up 48.5% YoY. Total images in listings stood at 38.5 million, up 51.4% YoY and up 8.1% QoQ. Total Ratings & Reviews stood at 76.1 million at the end of quarter, up 17.4% YoY and up 4.1% QoQ.

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