Amazon in talks to buy logistics unicorn Ecom Express

The proposed deal also provides an exit to Warburg Pincus, which holds 52.2% in Ecom Express, Photo: Reuters
The proposed deal also provides an exit to Warburg Pincus, which holds 52.2% in Ecom Express, Photo: Reuters


US retailer is in talks for an up to $600 mn stake in deal that values logistics firm at about $1.2 bn

MUMBAI : Inc. is in initial talks to acquire more than 51% in logistics unicorn Ecom Express Ltd for $500-600 million, two people aware of the plans said, as the e-commerce giant aims to build an in-house logistics division to catch up with its rivals.

Ecom Express is already among the delivery partners of Amazon India, which, unlike its rivals, does not have its own logistics division.

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“The two companies are in preliminary discussions for a potential co-promotership in Ecom Express. Going by the current metrics of Ecom Express, the deal may be worth at least $500 million, valuing Ecom Express at more than $1.2 billion," one of the two people cited above said on the condition of anonymity.

Spokespeople for Ecom Express and Amazon declined to comment. An email to a spokesperson for Warburg Pincus remained unanswered until press time.

Amazon’s rivals Reliance Industries Ltd’s JioMart and Walmart-Flipkart have their in-house supply-chain arms. Still, about 60% of the e-commerce logistics market in India is outsourced, according to a recent report by researcher PGA Labs.

“If the proposed deal goes through, Amazon will get an in-house supply-chain firm, which will help further speed up its delivery while keeping its costs low," the person cited above added.

The proposed deal also provides an exit to Warburg Pincus, which holds 52.2% in Ecom Express, the people cited above said.

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Ecom Express is a tech-driven logistics solutions provider to Indian e-commerce companies and is currently present across 2,650 towns and 2,700 locations in India. The company relies on automated solutions for first-mile pickup, processing, network optimization and last-mile delivery.

On 25 July, Ecom Express said it is expecting a spike in e-commerce orders during the festival season and seeks to further strengthen its last-mile capabilities. It is working to hire 50,000 delivery partners by September-end under a programme called ‘Ecom Sanjeev’.

The announcement came a day after a report by PGA Labs said India’s e-commerce retail logistics market is expected to grow at an average annual pace of 24% to $6.3 billion in FY26, up from $2.2 billion in FY21. This growth will be primarily driven by online retail, which is expected to reach approximately $145 billion by FY26, with about 15 million daily shipments, said the PGA Labs report.

Ecom Express has put its 4,860 crore IPO on hold due to market turbulence. However, the acquisition of majority control in Ecom Express by Amazon will not only facilitate the exit of some of the shareholders but may also bring in fresh capital for Ecom Express’ growth.

Ecom Express is now looking to raise $125-150 million, according to the 21 July report by PGA Labs.

Founded in 2012 by T.A. Krishnan, Manju Dhawan, K. Satyanarayana and Sanjeev Saxena, Ecom Express is present in over 2,400 towns across 25,000 Pin-codes in India. In February, it invested $11 million in Bangladesh’s logistics company Paperfly.

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