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CCI approves Tata group’s acquisition of BigBasket

The Competition Commission of India on Thursday cleared the Tata Group’s acquisition of BigBasket. Publishing its approval in a tweet, the CCI did not suggest any changes to the acquisition which is reported to be worth Rs 9,500 crore.

The CCI has approved Tata Digital Ltd’s acquisition of up to 64.3% of the total share capital of Supermarket Grocery Supplies Pvt. Ltd. which is engaged in online business-to-business transactions through business.bigbasket.com. The entity also operates bigbasket.com and related mobile applications. In a subsequent and separate transaction, SGS may acquire sole control over Innovative Retail Concepts Private Limited (IRC), which is into online retailing.

Tata Digital Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Songs Pvt. Ltd., the ultimate holding company of entities belonging to the Tata Sons group.

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The Tata group had announced the acquisition in March and sought CCI’s approval. The deal is expected to position the Tata group as a major player in the burgeoning online grocery market. It will also give Alibaba group a chance to exit its investment in the startup, owing to heightened tensions between India and China over the past several months; in August 2020, the Chinese-based group had reportedly paused investments in India.

The Tata group’s investment into the space are a direct challenge to incumbents such as Grofers, Amazon Fresh, Flipkart and new entrants such as Reliance’s JioMart.  It will also likely help the group build it’s “super app“, which it envisions will be a one-stop shop for consumers to buy into its wide range of services and products. In August 2020, Natarajan Chandrasekaran, chair of Tata Sons, had said that the app would combine the group’s offerings across verticals to offer a “beautiful omnichannel experience”.

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