The pandemic may have toppled many business plans, but it has helped seal a lucrative deal for the Tata group. Well, almost. In a few weeks, the steel-to-software conglomerate is likely to announce a majority-stake acquisition of e-pharmacy 1mg. 

Multiple sources, including those in 1mg’s top management, confirmed the development to The Ken. Tata is said to be looking at investing over $200 million into the Gurugram-based e-pharmacy. For a six-year old startup that burns around $30 million to $35 million each year, this investment would anchor 1mg’s boat for at least a few years.

But for the million or so brick and mortar pharmacists in India, this is just the latest in a long line of nails in an e-commerce coffin that is slowly, but surely, closing down on them. 

Offline pharmacists fought fought The Ken How e-pharmacies escaped death, survived & turned the tables on their opponents Read more tooth and nail against the rise of e-pharmacies in the early years of this decade, pulling out all regulatory stops to ensure their hold on the over $16 billion domestic retail market. But what began slowly began slowly The Ken Death’s door to doorstep delivery, e-pharmacies are here to stay Read more  with independent startups such as 1mg, PharmEasy, and Netmeds gained momentum, ably aided by the online boom during the Covid-19 pandemic—enough that corporate giants are now interested in the space. 

Tata’s likely acquisition comes just six months after oil, retail, and telecom major Reliance Industries picked up picked up The Ken Reliance’s Netmeds acquisition marks the end of an era Read more  a stake in the Chennai-based Netmeds. Meanwhile, Amazon—which announced its entry into the e-pharmacy space around the same time as Reliance in August 2020—is considering considering Reuters Amazon eyes potential $100 million investment in India's Apollo Pharmacy - ET Read more  a $100 million investment in Apollo Pharmacy. Flipkart was also reportedly reportedly The Times of India Flipkart in talks for e-pharmacy biz Read more  thinking about tying up with PharmEasy, though the latter confirmed to The Ken that any deal is off for now. 

AUTHOR

Maitri Porecha

Maitri writes about everything health for The Ken. For close to 10 years now, she has navigated hospital corridors in her search for a good story. In a past life, when she was not a journalist, she used to teach French at her neighbourhood school. Also an avid fan of forensics, she is always up for decoding mysteries in her free time.

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