PE firm Gaja Capital may lead $100 million round in 1MG
Amid the consolidation in the e-pharmacy space, 1MG is in talks with Indian and global private equity funds for a new fund-raise of around $100 million as it prepares to fight rivals — Reliance Industries, Amazon and PharmEasy-Medlife combine.

Private equity firm Gaja Capital is in an advanced stage of talks to lead the round at 1MG, while Tata Capital and Europe’s Partners Group are also looking to participate in the deal along with another ‘global private equity major’, said three sources briefed on the matter.

The discussions are under way on the final contours of the deal, which may include the total round being completed in tranches, sources aware of the matter said. For Gaja, if the deal with the Gurgaon-based company closes, it will be its first investment from its new fourth fund of around $400 million. 1MG’s existing investors, which include Sequoia Capital and World Bank investment arm IFC, are also expected to participate.

“It is looking to raise north of $100 million and the talks have accelerated following the Reliance-Netmeds deal as it would require capital as a standalone player. Around $70 million of new capital has been finalised but 1MG is negotiating for a bigger cheque,” a person aware of the matter said. TOI reported on August 24 how higher stickiness, wider healthcare business has attracted the likes of Reliance and Amazon in the online medicine delivery space. It mentioned PharmEasy is also working with JP Morgan for fund-raise while it is in the middle of acquiring smaller rival Medlife.

When contacted, 1MG co-founder and CEO Prashant Tandon, spokesperson for Gaja Capital and Tata Capital declined to comment on the matter. Email sent to Partners Group did not elicit any response.

For 1MG’s rivals like Netmeds, now majority owned by Reliance, besides PharmEasy-Medlife, most of their revenue comes from medicine delivery, while they expand to online doctor consultations and lab tests. Tandon recently told TOI that around 50% of its top line is from medicine delivery as it looks to position itself as a broader digital healthcare platform.

A report by market research firm Redseer on Sunday said e-pharmacy platforms, including consultation and lab tests, are expected to clock $2 billion in gross sales by March 2021 — with supply chain restoration and rise in new users.

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March, 6 million new households tried online medicine taking the total to 9 million households, a recent Ficci-Redseer white paper said. The latest Redseer report said e-pharmacies clocked $1.3 billion in gross sales for the 12-month period ending March 2020.

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