Reliance acquires majority stake in onlin4e pharma Netmeds for Rs620 cr

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) on Tuesday said its retail arm, Reliance Retail Ventures, has acquired a majority stake in Vitalic Health Pvt Ltd and its subsidiaries, which runs the online pharma company Netmeds, for a cash consideration of around Rs620 crore.

This investment represents around 60 per cent holding in the equity share capital of Vitalic and 100 per cent direct equity ownership of its subsidiaries, viz, Tresara Health Private Ltd, Netmeds Market Place Ltd and Dadha Pharma Distribution Pvt Ltd.
“This investment is aligned with our commitment to provide digital access for everyone in India,” said Isha Ambani, director of Reliance Retail Ventures.
“The addition of Netmeds enhances Reliance Retail’s ability to provide good quality and affordable healthcare products and services, and also broadens its digital commerce proposition to include most daily essential needs of consumers,” she added.
Vitalic and its subsidiaries are in the business of pharma distribution, sales, and business support services. Its subsidiary also runs an online pharmacy platform – Netmeds – to connect customers to pharmacists and enable door step delivery of medicines, nutritional health and wellness products.
Incorporated in 2015, Netmeds is promoted by Dadha Pharma, a Chennai-based company. The Dadha family’s pharmaceutical experience dates back to 1914, when they ventured first into the pharma retailing business and then into drug manufacturing in 1972, RIL said in a release.
RIL has been focusing to scale up its grocery and pharmacy platforms through its SMART Point outlets. Reliance Retail had this May tied up with Netmeds to deliver groceries also, from its online retail store JioMart.
Pradeep Dadha, Founder & CEO, Netmeds, said, "With the combined strength of the Reliance’s digital, retail and tech platforms, we will strive to create more value for everyone in the ecosystem, while providing a superior Omni Channel experience to consumers."
This acquisition comes days after Amazon India launched ‘Amazon Pharmacy’ in Bengaluru and will conduct pilots in other cities.
With Netmeds in its fold, Reliance Retail will now compete with Amazon, which last week launched ‘Amazon Pharmacy’, as also Walmart-owned Flipkart, which is also looking to enter the pharma distribution business.
Amazon also partnered with US-based firm Giant Eagle Pharmacy in November to allow users of its artificial intelligence-based virtual assistant Alexa to request prescription refills. 
E-pharmacies is a large market in India and the retail segment is a fragmented one, ripe for consolidation.