The Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved Tata Sons Pvt Ltd’s acquisition of BigBasket, an online grocery retailer backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
The Tata-BigBasket partnership pits the conglomerate against Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart.
Tata Digital Ltd., a subsidiary wholely belonging to Tata Sons Pvt. Ltd., proposed to buy 64.3 percent of a company that handles BigBasket’s business-to-business revenues in a filing with the CCI.
The move comes at a time when e-commerce sales witnessed a boost in sales, especially of food and groceries, in India as a result of the pandemic.
Speaking of the first lockdown, the BigBasket co-founder and CEO Hari Menon had said the company recruited over 12,300 employees in 16 days to meet the increase in demand to serve the large number of people turning towards digital channels for grocery shopping.
Following the implementation of a 21-day lockout that began on March 25, 2020, e-commerce firms initially faced failure in supplying orders. Despite the government’s approval of e-commerce platforms for the distribution of vital products such as food, pharmaceuticals, and medical equipment, there were allegations reported against the policemen of having harassed the company delivery personnel.
Local officials also shut down warehouses and prohibited vehicles from entering state boundaries, as a result, there was major disruption in e-commerce operations even though there was a rise in orders during the lockdown. At the time, companies like BigBasket and Grofers employed tens of thousands of people to deliver the orders.