Reliance Retail acquires majority stake in Netmeds for Rs 620 crore

RIL's acquisition comes at a time when arch rival Amazon has just started selling pharmaceutical products in Bangalore markets
The online pharmacy space is set to become a hotly contested segment with Reliance Industries (RIL) now throwing its hat into the ring. The Mukesh Ambani-owned conglomerate on Tuesday announced acquisition of a majority equity stake in Chennai-based online pharmacy delivery startup Netmeds (Vitalic Health Pvt. Ltd) for a cash consideration of approximately Rs 620 crore.

This investment represents 60 per cent holding in the equity share capital of Vitalic and 100 per cent direct equity ownership of its subsidiaries - Tresara Health Private Limited, Netmeds Market Place Limited and Dadha Pharma Distribution Pvt. Limited, a late evening statement by RIL said.

RIL's acquisition comes at a time when arch rival Amazon has just started selling pharmaceutical products in Bangalore markets. Also, two other prominent players Medlife and PharmEasy are now heading for a merger to create a have agreed for a merger, to create a large combined entity in the online pharmacy space. 

"This investment is aligned with our commitment to provide digital access for everyone in India. The addition of Netmeds enhances Reliance Retail’s ability to provide good quality and affordable health care products and services, and also broadens its digital commerce proposition to include most daily essential needs of consumers. We are impressed by  Netmeds’ journey to build a nationwide digital franchise in such a short time and are  confident of accelerating it with our investment and partnership," Isha Ambani, Director, RRVL, said.

Promoted by Dadha Pharma, Chennai-based Netmeds is one of the earliest players in this space having incorporated in 2015. The company which connects customers to pharmacists and enable door step delivery of medicines, nutritional health and wellness products, is said to have raised close to $100 million funding so far from investors such as Tanncam, Sistema and Daun Penh. Till date, the company has served close to 4 million customers across over 610 cities and towns.

“It is indeed a proud moment for “Netmeds” to join Reliance family and work together to make quality healthcare affordable and accessible to every Indian. With the combined strength of the group’s digital, retail and tech platforms, we will strive to create more value for everyone in the ecosystem, while providing a superior Omni Channel experience to consumers,” Pradeep Dadha, Founder & CEO, Netmeds, said.

The Dadha family's pharmaceuticals experience dates back to 1914, when it ventured first into the pharma retailing business and then into drug manufacturing in 1972.

According to a Frost & Sullivan report, e-pharmacies market in India is expected to reach $3.6 billion (Rs 25,000 crore) by 2022, growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 63 per cent from 2018.

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