M&A
Just Dial’s shares closed 9% higher on the news of being acquired by Google.
Image source: Screenshot/Just Dial

Hyperlocal service engine Just Dial has denied reports of holding any talks with internet gaint Google for a possible acquisition. The Bombay Stock Exchange-listed firm told BSE in a submission that Just Dial, as part of its regular business, does meet various relevant corporates for exploring any business or strategic opportunities and tie-ups.

“However, we would like to clarify that as of now there is no proposal in respect of acquisition of business of Just Dial by Google and news published in Business standard dated 10"'November, 2017 is factually incorrect,” Just Dial added in the statement.

Business Standard reported on Friday that Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet, is talking to Mumbai-based Just Dial to acquire its business.

“Google has been talking to Just Dial for an acquisition for some time. Both the companies entered into exclusive talks about two months ago. It may take some more time before the discussions are finalised,” BS quoted an investment banker familiar with the discussions as saying.

Following reports, Just Dial’s share price initially jumped over 19% to Rs 549.8, from an opening price of Rs 504.9, finally settling at 9% (Rs 500.30). Post the clarification the share price dropped to Rs 467.05.

The deal, if true, would have been Google’s second Indian acquisition after it acquired Bengaluru-based AI startup Halli Labs in July.

Founded in 1996, Just Dial is one of the most well-performing search services in India and is available as a website, app and mobile site. It has a database of nearly 20 million listings across categories.

The deal would make sense for Google, given that it is looking to expand into local services in India. It recently launched hyper local app Google Aero for food delivery and home services and tied up with Freshmenu, Holachef, UrbanClap and Faasos for services. Just Dial would give Google’s hyper local business a huge boost given the formers huge database.

Just Dial reported a 26.5% rise in profit for the September quarter at Rs 37.5 crore as against a net profit of Rs 29.6 crore for the same quarter a year ago.