Reliance Takes Controlling Interest in Just Dial

About JustDial

JustDial has been the leader as a database holder. In other terms we can see it is one of the most prominent information gathering units of India. It has information about many businesses and individuals given its 15 years business journey of data collection. This has enabled JustDial to be the leader in the internet information provider service. It serves the customer through phone calls, Text messages, Internet and web facility and mobile applications as well. 

Just Dial, India’s 25-year-old company which initially started by offering local search services is now a local search engine, an e-commerce site and a B2B which specializes in offering varied range of products and services through its website, mobile app and phone. Users can dial 8888888888 or surf on its website or mobile app and get information related to hotel bookings, local plumbers, automobile services, travel information, catering agencies, recreational classes and a lot more. 

Reliance Takes Over JustDial

On 16 July 2021, Reliance Industries Limited’s subsidiary, a retail arm, Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (RRVL) announced that it will acquire a controlling stake of 66.95% in JustDial for Rs. 3497 crores. It has already acquired 40.95% stake and the remaining 26% will be acquired by making an open offer according to the takeover regulations. Out of the 40.95% stake already acquired, 25.33% was through preferential allotment and 15.62% from VSS Mani, Just Dial Founder.

As per the agreement, VSS Mani would continue to be the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Just Dial. The investment made by RRVL will leverage the 30.4 million listing database and existing customer base of 129.1 million of the Indian Internet Tech Company, Just Dial.

History and Company Background

25 years back when VSS Mani started the company, he had a vision to build a single platform that would be providing fast, reliable, free and comprehensive information to various users and also connect buyers and sellers. Over the period of time, this vision further expanded to providing a B2B platform to merchants to trade and also facilitate B2C transactions and not just a mere search platform.

The capital that will be infused by RRVL through this acquisition will facilitate further growth and expansion and also realize the vision based on which the company was founded. The capital would help increase search and discovery on its search engine and also magnify transactions across the wide range of products and services offered by Just Dial.

Mukesh Ambani, Reliance Industries Ltd. ‘s Chairman and Managing Director had said in the recent Annual General Meeting held in the last month that it has a target of on-boarding 10million merchant partners over the next three-year period for its new commerce initiatives. By acquiring Just Dial, it is moving towards its goal. JD Mart not only provides a marketplace model but also provides other services like payment solution, logistics and catalogue management. It has also been providing insurance and working capital loans to SMEs. It aims to capture a high share of consumer consumption by focusing on local businesses as an integral partner. This will provide a large merchant base for Jio Mart, RIL’s e-commerce platform.

Reliance’s Other Acquisitions

Just Dial is one of many acquisitions made by Reliance Industries through its various subsidiaries over the past one year since it raised $27 million from Facebook and Google.  

In February 2021, RIL increased its stakes in skyTran, a US-based tech company, to 54.46%. Prior to that it bought the retail and wholesale unit of Future Group for Rs.24713 crore and acquired a majority stake of Rs.620 crore in Netmeds in August 2020.

It also acquired Radisys, telecom solution provider in June 2020 for Rs.511 crore. In 2019 it bought 51.78% in Asteria Aerospace, 85% stake in NowFloats Technology, 87.6% in Fynd. In the same year, it further acquired Hamleys for Rs.620 crores, Grab A grub Services Pvt Ltd for Rs.106 crore, C-Square Info Solutions for Rs.146 crore, Haptik for Rs.700 crores and Reverie for Rs. 190 crores. It also bought around 9 startups that year. In 2018, it bought majority stakes in Den Networks (66%), Hathway Cables (51.3%) and Datacom. It also invested $180 million in Embibe, Rs.58 crore in Netradyne Inc and merged JioMusic with Saavn by acquiring 80% stake.

Over the past three years, Reliance made all of these acquisitions directly or through its subsidiaries to boost its offerings.  It has invested $566 million in the media and education segment, $194 million in the retail sector, $1.2 billion in the telecom industry, $100 million in digital firms and $391 million in the chemical and energy industry. Hence RIL has been constantly striving to get into the list of top companies of the World. It is expanding and diving into multiple sectors of business.

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