A distressed, once promising business that most people knew of. A buyer that barely anyone had. And yet everyone took the information at face value. And ran with it.

Pigeon Express in talks to acquire GoJavas, the headline in the Mint said, dated 12 August 2016. To quote from the story:

“Courier service provider Pigeon Express Pvt. Ltd is in advanced talks to acquire e-commerce focused logistics service provider GoJavas (Quickdel Logistics Pvt. Ltd), which suspended operations last week amid an organisational overhaul, in a cash and stock deal, said two people aware of the development. GoJavas, which counts Snapdeal (Jasper Infotech Pvt. Ltd) as a key investor, had started scouting for possible suitors after a bid by Snapdeal for a complete buyout fell through. Besides Pigeon Express, the company had also held talks with another Delhi-based courier service provider, Trackon Couriers Pvt. Ltd. However, the deal has swung in favour of Pigeon Express.”

And just as suddenly as the news of “advanced talks” had appeared, so did the news of the sale too. Only a few days later, on 17 August, most publications carried some form of this news: Pigeon Express Private Limited acquires QuickDel Logistics Private Limited. Anand Rai joins as managing director.

Except for one minor detail—Pigeon Express never acquired QuickDel Logistics or GoJavas.

Yes, you read that correctly. This is that story.

A blow-by-blow account of the several machinations that happened at GoJavas and Snapdeal in the months of July, August and September 2016. The Ken spoke to several former officials of GoJavas and Snapdeal for this story. Quite a few of them have ended their employment in the last six to eight months, thanks to the turmoil at both companies. While GoJavas fired its employees en masse, Snapdeal has seen significant retrenchment and layoffs. None of the employees wanted to speak on the record considering the sensitive nature of the subject, but they had a lot to say privately. A few vendors of GoJavas agreed to speak on the record and are pursuing legal remedies against the company as well.

To put this story together, The Ken has also relied on various documents filed with the Registrar of Companies (RoC) by both Quickdel logistics and Pigeon Express.

Our story begins sometime in early August 2016.

The deal

First, some numbers.

Shareholding in GoJavas as on 31 March 2015:

Praveen Sinha: 34.93%

Jasper Infotech Private Limited: 30.14%

Ashish Choudhary: 24.77%

Randhir Singh: 10.16%

Note that Jasper Infotech here is Snapdeal. From 30.14%, its shareholding in GoJavas would go up to 49.99% in less than 6 months.

AUTHOR

Ashish K. Mishra

Ashish edits and writes stories at The Ken. Across subjects. In his last assignment, he was a Deputy Editor at Mint, a financial daily published by HT Media. At the paper, he wrote long, deeply reported feature stories. His earlier assignments: Forbes India magazine and The Economic Times. Born in Kolkata. Studied in New Delhi – B.Com from Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University. Works out of anywhere, where there is a good story to be told.

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