Tatas Pick up Majority in 1mg

Tata Digital, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Tata Group, on Thursday said it is acquiring a majority stake in epharmacy 1mg, the group’s second large acquisition in the ecommerce space after e-grocer BigBasket, and one that will put it in direct competition with the RIL-owned Netmeds.

Sources close to the development said the total deal size is in the range of $220-240 million, and includes a mix of primary and secondary investment from the Tatas as well as some existing investors. The Tatas are said to be getting around 51-60% stake in the Gurgaon-based company.

The 1mg acquisition is the latest move by the salt-to-steel conglomerate to bulk up its digital portfolio, and build its super app play. 

With Netmeds owned by RIL and now 1mg by the Tatas, PharmEasy — which acquired smaller rival Medlife last year — is the only big standalone player left in the e-pharmacy segment, which was estimated to be $360 million in size last year, as per EY India. 

The e-pharma sector has been a beneficiary of increased adoption of digital commerce during the pandemic. Industry reports estimate that about six million new households have tried online purchase of medicines in the past year, taking the total user base to about nine million. The second wave of the pandemic is expected to further increase this user base. The size of the sector is estimated to swell up to $2.7 billion by 2023.

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