Snapdeal, an Indian ecommerce platform, owned by Jasper Infotech Pvt. Ltd., is on an adjustment mode to stay and survive in the business where the biggies like Amazon, Flipkart and now Walmart appear to be running away with all the moolah. The company is now hiving off a subsidy, Unicommerce, it had acquired earlier. Infibeam, an Ahmedabad based ecommerce firm is buying Unicommerce from Snapdeal and the value of the purchase is being hinted at around Rs 120 crores. Jasper Infotech will issue optionally convertible debentures to Infibeam on a preferential basis and it will cover 100% of the value of the unit.
Unicommerce is a pureplay technology outfit that has been developing solutions in the ecommerce space by integrating the backend operations, starting with vendors, orders, payments and deliveries. Infibeam wants to use this technology solutions company to help with its own ecommerce operations.
Readers may recall that Snapdeal has been struggling with its core activities and there were serious discussions on a merger with Flipkart, which fell through. After that, the company has been trying to do a damage limitation exercise by selling off some of the subsidiaries it had acquired over the years. Snapdeal calls this a ‘Snapdeal 2.0’ strategy and this deal to sell Unicommerce is part of this plan. Though it was keen on a higher valuation/price, in the Rs 150 -200 crores range, possibly it had to settle for less. The other two significant sell-offs from Snapdeal’s stable include Vulcan Express Pvt. Ltd., and FreeCharge. The former is a logistics company and the Future Group bought it in an all-cash deal for Rs 35 crores. The digital payments arm FreeCharge was picked up by Axis Bank.
For Infibeam, which is perhaps the sole listed ecommerce firm with Indian roots, the acquisition of Unicommerce could strengthen its own operations. Unicommerce has developed a proprietary software Uniware which is a SaaS (software as a service) based program and is useful for ecommerce companies in managing their vendors and inventories, holistically. There was a transition period after it was acquired by Snapdeal when the original founders continued, but once they separated, Snapdeal has arranged to sell the arm.