Medlife, PharmEasy agree to merge; deal may be valued at over $1 bn

Topics Medlife | PharmEasy | e-pharmacies

The aim is to create one of the largest healthcare companies and the valuation of the combined entity is expected to be over $1 billion, according to the sources
E-health companies Medlife and PharmEasy have agreed for a merger, according to the filings submitted by the companies to the Competition Commission of India (CCI). The proposed combination relates to the acquisition of 100 per cent equity shares of Medlife by API Holdings, the parent of PharmEasy, in return for 19.59 per cent equity share capital, according to the CCI filing. 

The deal values the stake of Medlife shareholders for about $200-$250 million, according to the sources. The aim is to create one of the largest healthcare companies and the valuation of the combined entity is expected to be over $1 billion, according to the sources.

Co-founded by Tushar Kumar, Prashanth Singh and former Myntra-Jabong CEO Ananth Narayanan in 2014, Medlife provides services such as e-consultation, lab tests and health supplements and generics. The Bengaluru-based company has crossed Rs 100-crore in gross merchandise value (GMV) per month. It is delivering medicines to 29 states, 4,000 cities and 20,000 pin codes in India. It fulfils over 30,000 deliveries daily. Medlife has raised total funding of $32.7 million. It is backed by Wilson Global Opportunities Fund and Prasid Uno Family Trust, according to data platform Crunchbase.

In the CCI filing, Prashant Singh, Tushar Kumar and the Trust are collectively referred to as “Medlife Promoter Shareholders.” 

The other company PharmEasy was founded in 2015 and has its network in over 700 cities. The Mumbai-based online medicine and healthcare ordering app, has raised total funding of $328.5 million. It is backed by investors such as Temasek Holdings and Bessemer Venture Partners and Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani. As a marketplace, PharmEasy works with 35,000 retail partners in Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities across the country.

According to the document, it is submitted that the ‘proposed transaction’ does not give rise to any appreciable adverse effect on competition in India, regardless of the delineation of the relevant market for the purpose of this filing. It said the ‘parties’ have carefully reviewed their commercial operations and identified a limited number of similar and substitutable products which are provided by them in India. 

The document said that the overlapping relevant product markets include wholesale and distribution of drugs in India, consultation services and calcium preparation. The other such markets include Ayurvedic items, hygiene products, vitamin and minerals and respiratory protective devices.

The merger between Medlife and PharmEasy is taking place at a time when e-commerce giant Amazon has forayed into the online medicine segment and launched Amazon Pharmacy. The service has been started in areas with select pin codes in Bengaluru, while the company is learnt to be mulling scaling it up to other cities across India in the near future.

There are several discussions going around in the e-health sector for consolidation with key players being PharmEasy, 1mg, Medlife and Netmeds. According to reports, Reliance Jio is in talks with Netmeds to acquire the latter.

The Indian e-health sector is expected to become a $16 billion opportunity by FY 2025, growing from $1.2 billion, at a compound annual growth rate of 68 per cent, according to a report by research firm RedSeer Consulting. It is expected to touch 57 million households, driven by positive reception from both consumers and providers along with supportive government regulations and investments.

As per RedSeer, the overall Indian healthcare industry is set to grow at 17 per cent CAGR until FY 2025 to reach $353 billion (7 per cent of the expected nominal gross domestic product).


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