Saturday, October 30, 2021

Adani buys 20% stake in Cleartrip

New Delhi & Mumbai: Billionaire Gautam Adani will acquire a "significant minority stake" in online travel and hotel booking firm Cleartrip - which had been acquired earlier by the Walmart-owned Flipkart - as he looks to launch a superapp, which will offer varied consumer services, including those from his conglomerate. The latest Cleartrip deal will be routed through the tycoon's listed flagship Adani Enterprises, which will acquire about 20% in the holiday booking site, said a person in the know.

The deal will also boost his airport management business as travel rebounds after Covid-related curbs are eased and vaccination rises. Flipkart had bought Cleartrip for about $40 million in a distress sale in April this year.

Adani Enterprises did not disclose the amount it will invest in Cleartrip but said it would get "board nomination rights and certain investment protection rights".

The Ahmedabad-based conglomerate's digital play comes at a time when rival groups - Tatas and Reliance Industries (RIL) - have been consolidating their e-commerce interests. Tata has soft-launched its superapp, covering a swathe of its consumer services and products. While RIL, controlled by Mukesh Ambani, is buying a controlling stake in local search engine, JustDial.

With Adani Group emerging as India's largest private sector airport operator (in terms of number of airports and not in terms of passenger volumes), the Cleartrip deal will increase its travel play. After Cleartrip was acquired by Flipkart, Adani said in a statement that the holiday booking site has "seen 10 times growth in flight bookings". Moreover, it too observed that the number of passengers at airports has increased, reaching close to pre-covid highs.

30/10/21 Times of India

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