Tue, Feb 26, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Uber in talks to sell food-delivery business in India


An Uber Eats delivery man loads up food to bring to a customer in New Delhi on Feb. 6.

Photo: AFP

Less than two years after Uber Technologies Inc entered India’s competitive food-delivery business, it is in talks to sell its Uber Eats operations in the country to rival Swiggy, a person familiar with the negotiations said.

The talks between Uber and Bangalore-based Bundl Technologies Pvt, which owns the Swiggy brand, are progressing and a deal could be sealed within the coming weeks, the person said on condition of anonymity.

Swiggy does not comment on “market rumors or speculation,” a company spokesperson said by e-mail, while Uber did not immediately respond to e-mail and WhatsApp messages seeking comment on Sunday.

Uber started its food-delivery business in India in 2017 with much fanfare and a huge marketing budget. The San Francisco-based company has poured resources into the operations to lure users with bargain food deals delivered to the doorstep, but it is pitted against competitors with powerful investors.

Swiggy raised US$1 billion in funding in December last year from investors, including South Africa’s Naspers Ltd and China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd (騰訊).

Uber Eats operates in more than 37 Indian cities, the company said last year.

Swiggy, founded in 2014, delivers from about 60,000 restaurants in at least 80 cities, while the other leading player, New Delhi-based Zomato, transports orders from 80,000 restaurants in 150 Indian cities.

Uber’s pull-back from food delivery in India follows retreats from its ride-hailing business in China, Russia and Southeast Asia, as the Softbank Group Corp-backed company prepares for a high-profile public offering later this year.

Negotiations with Swiggy were first reported by the Economic Times newspaper.

Bangalore-based Swiggy and Zomato, supported by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s (阿里巴巴) Ant Financial (螞蟻金服), lead India’s food-delivery sector, which is showing signs of consolidation.

Bangalore-based ANI Technologies Pvt, which owns the Ola ride-hailing brand, acquired the Indian unit of Foodpanda in December 2017 and is facing an uphill struggle against the two established players.

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