Ride app Ola buys Foodpanda India

New Delhi (AFP) –


Indian ride-hailing company Ola has bought the online food ordering business Foodpanda India from Germany's Delivery Hero Group, the two companies said Tuesday.

In return Delivery will get an undisclosed amount of stock in Ola, they said in a statement.

Homegrown Ola, owned by ANI Technologies, will also pump $200 million into Foodpanda India.

"This is by far the largest such fund infusion in India's online food ordering and delivery industry thus far," the statement said.

The deal gives Ola a platform to compete with its main rival Uber which launched a similar food delivery service UberEATS in India in May.

India has a fairly crowded app-based food delivery market which includes Swiggy, backed by South Africa's Naspers, and Zomato, among others.

The deal is Ola's attempt to re-enter the food business after shutting down Ola cafe in March last year within a year of its launch.

It is common practice for food delivery companies in India to offer discounts to grab customers and market share, experts say.

However, an average order size of 250 rupees ($4) has left little room for profits and has seen the untimely demise of a handful of start-ups in the sector in the last couple of years.

Foodpanda, which Delivery bought in December 2016 from Rocket Internet, too has had its share of troubles including fake restaurant listings and unreliable deliveries.

"Our commitment to invest $200 million in Foodpanda India will help the business be focused on growth by creating value for customers and partners," said Ola co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal.

This promised commitment, said Delivery Hero co-founder and chief executive Niklas Ostberg, was "a clear and confident signal to the Indian market."

Their stake in Ola was "a very valuable asset," he added.