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Is India’s BigBasket Amazon’s Next Online Grocery Conquest?

So far it’s just a rumor, but inside sources are saying that Amazon may be in preliminary talks to buy BigBasket, India’s largest online grocer.

BigBasket is growing fast. Last year, it raised $150 million in a funding round led by Dubai’s Abraaj Group. It raised $7 million in March from venture firm Trifecta Capital, which it funneled into new warehouses and strengthened its delivery network. According to sources, the startup has been boosting revenue rapidly and recently broke even in two cities.

Sources told Bloomberg News that Amazon is looking to gain traction in the ballooning Indian market. Perhaps the American eCommerce giant sees BigBasket, which is run by SuperMarket Grocery Supplies Pvt, as the handhold it needs in the country. The eTailer has a presence in about 25 cities across the subcontinent.

Amazon and BigBasket have not agreed to any specific terms, said sources. Official spokespeople denied that the conversations were even taking place. However, BigBasket has had discussions with private equity firms, and Amazon has certainly indicated its interest.

CEO Jeff Bezos said he planned to spend $5 billion in India to compete against local rivals in the coming years. Already, Flipkart Ltd. and Snapdeal, two of India’s biggest domestic eCommerce players, have been pushed into a preliminary agreement to merge due to pressure from Amazon.

Amazon has also sought approval to work with the Indian government in food supply and plans to invest nearly $500 million in online food retailing.

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