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Infibeam seen in talks to sell minority stake to Fairfax Financial Holdings, Retail News, ET Retail

Infibeam seen in talks to sell minority stake to Fairfax Financial HoldingsAHMEDABAD: Infibeam is in talks with Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial Holdings to sell a minority stake, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said, even as the local ecommerce firm looks to expand into offline retail.The company is also considering strategic investment in and buyouts of retail chains that are using its platform to sell online, the person said.

Further, with it strengthening its B2B2C (business-to-business-to-consumer) platform by providing its logistics framework to brands like Amul and Adani Wilmar, the company is keen to have full control of logistics, the person said.

Infibeam continues to evaluate opportunities as they come, managing director Vishal Mehta said, when contacted by ET. He did not comment on talks with Fairfax, but said Infibeam did not have any plans now to invest in the offline space. Harsha Raghavan, managing director of Fairfax’s India affiliate Fairbridge Capital, refused to comment.
Infibeam seen in talks to sell minority stake to Fairfax Financial Holdings

“Infibeam Logistics is where we would like to make investments this year with GST already rolled out … The company will focus more in terms of building out the logistic strength,” Mehta said. But the person who spoke to ET said the company was keen to build a hybrid model and invest in merchants in the retail space. “That will add to the likes of existing properties that the company has, including CCAvenue, BuildaBazaar and

The company is keen to bolster its presence in the mind space of the Indian consumer,” the person added. Mehta said the company has been strengthening its technology capabilities to pursue new business opportunities and improve operational efficiencies. Also, it is expanding its warehouse and logistics capabilities and strengthening fulfilment capabilities for the Infibeam web services business as well as e-retail operations by adding 75 logistics centers, he said.

Mehta said: “For our B2C segment, which is, our focus and strategy has been to sell products while ensuring that we earn positive returns from this business and not burn cash unlike most others in this space.”

Although the company initially came to the Indian market with its B2C marketplace, it has started expanding the customer focus of Infibeam web services to B2G (sales to government) and B2B2C. This has helped it produce strong growth and profit. In the second quarter, Infibeam’s consolidated revenue grew 76% to Rs 201.6 crore. “Infibeam web services continues its upward journey while the Infibeam e-retail platform maintains stability without burning cash, and we want to continue growing like this,” Mehta said.

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