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Zomato raises $52 million from American investor: Report

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US-based Kora Investments has pumped $52 million into Zomato, with a larger amount follow-up amount expected in the coming months, Mint reported.

The big picture: Zomato has been hit by two body blows this year: the pandemic and Indo-China tensions.

  • Zomato had raised $150 million from existing investor Ant Financial, the payments arm of China’s Alibaba Group in January. But only $50 million came through as Indo-China relations soured resulting in increased protectionism in India. Over the last months, New Delhi has imposed new restrictions on funding from India’s neighbours and has banned over 200 apps of Chinese origin.
  • India’s FDI changes stalled Ant Group’s Zomato investment: In its IPO prospectus filed in August, Ant Group disclosed that the Indian government’s protectionist foreign investment policy led to “further evaluation of the timing of our additional investment” in Zomato. In April, the India government had modified the Press Note 2 (2020 series), adding a bureaucratic layer of control over foreign investments and acquisitions in Indian companies. The change was intended to stave off predatory investments into startups stressed because of the pandemic.

Alibaba also paused investments for six months: Earlier in August, Alibaba Group said it had put its investments in India on hold for at least six months, though it retained its holdings along with Ant Group’s in Paytm, Zomato, and BigBasket. Ant Group also has stake in Paytm Mall. Apart from the above, Alibaba has also invested in Snapdeal and logistics firms Xpressbees. Tencent, another internet giant in China, has invested in Practo, Swiggy, Flipkart, Ola, BYJU’s, Dream11, and Udaan.

Funds raised from non-China investors: InfoEdge, one of Zomato’s earliest investors currently holding a minority stake, has assured investors over the past months that Zomato has sufficient investor interest from investors who did not need investment permissions (read: non-Chinese investors).

  • Right after InfoEdge’s call with investors in September, Zomato raised $60 million from MacRitchie Investments, a subsidiary of unit of Singapore-based Temasek Holdings, and another $100 million from US-based hedge fund Tiger Global.

Recovery in food delivery: Zomato revenues bounced back to pre-Covid levels in September, with cash burn substantially decreasing, InfoEdge had revealed. Earlier this week, the company itself said that food delivery volumes in multiple cities were at 120% of the peaks set before the pandemic.

Zomato has plans to go public in the first half of 2021. 

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