Logistics startup Delhivery Pvt. Ltd has held early-stage talks with Blue Dart Express Ltd and Gati Ltd to acquire their B2B operations, said two people aware of the matter.
Gurugram-based Delhivery is one of India’s newest unicorns, valued at $1.5 billion in March when it raised $413 million in a Series F round led by SoftBank Vision Fund, along with existing investors Carlyle Group and Fosun International. In September, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board bought an 8% stake in Delhivery for $115 million from an existing investor.
“Delhivery’s focus is mostly on the e-commerce segment, and has shown healthy growth... It’s not an unusual idea to look out for M&As. And since Blue Dart has a pretty strong franchise business in India, it is attractive to Delhivery from a B2B business perspective," said one of the people cited above.
Blue Dart reported a 35% year-on-year fall in consolidated net profit in the September quarter at ₹14.64 crore. Gati posted a net loss of ₹11.10 crore for the quarter ended 30 September, compared with a net profit of ₹1.31 crore during the same period a year ago.
According to the person cited above, logistics businesses usually receive the highest order values from direct corporate tie-ups, a strong point of Blue Dart.
“Blue Dart has a vast logistics fleet of its own, good pin code coverage and entrenched corporate relationship with big brands. A lot of the strength in traditional logistics business lies in leveraging loyalty," the person said. “Blue Dart has long-standing tie-ups with a lot of corporates for their B2B vertical. Retail logistics is a different market altogether, but B2B vertical is the biggest play for traditional logistics firms. The deal is also for user acquisition."
A Blue Dart spokesperson said, “As a matter of principle, Blue Dart does not comment on market rumours." Emails sent to Delhivery co-founder Sahil Barua and Gati on Monday remained unanswered till press time.
India’s logistics industry is expected to be worth $215 billion by 2020-21, CARE Ratings said in a 2018 report.
“Delhivery brings reporting and management technologies that can be very disruptive for traditional logistics players," said Anup Jain, managing partner at Orios Venture Partners, an investment firm.