Alibaba-backed Lazada acquires online grocer RedMart

An employee behind a glass wall with the logo of Alibaba at the company's headquarters.
An employee behind a glass wall with the logo of Alibaba at the company's headquarters.PHOTO: REUTERS

E-commerce platform Lazada has acquired RedMart, the Singapore online grocer backed by billionaire Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin.

The companies declined to disclose the financial details of the deal, although news site TechCrunch had earlier quoted sources as saying the acquisition was priced between US$30 million (S$42 million) and US$40 million.

Lazada, which is based in Singapore and sells clothes and electronics in six South-east Asian countries, is controlled by Chinese online shopping giant Alibaba, which bought a US$1 billion stake in April.

RedMart "will continue to operate independently" and be led by its current management after the transaction, the companies said in a joint statement yesterday.

RedMart, founded in 2011, was among the first in the region to launch an online grocery store. It has since raised tens of millions from investors, including Singapore tech firm Garena, Golden Gate Ventures and SoftBank Ventures Korea.

Bloomberg reported in September that the company had run into financing problems and was seeking a buyer. It held unsuccessful talks with a number of potential suitors, including supermarket chain FairPrice, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and online retail titan Amazon, reports said.

Yesterday's statement about the deal said Lazada will benefit from RedMart's "strong fulfilment capabilities" in Singapore.

The acquisition will also help RedMart boost its product range and allow it to take advantage of Lazada's seller base, ecosystem of third-party service providers and technological resources.

"Through this partnership, we can further scale our logistics and tech platform to extend our product assortment and offer an even more convenient service for our customers in Singapore," said RedMart co-founder and chief executive Roger Egan.

The transaction is expected to be completed in this quarter.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2016, with the headline 'Alibaba-backed Lazada acquires online grocer RedMart'. Print Edition | Subscribe