Oct 30 (Bloomberg) – Billionaire Gautam Adani’s Adani Group is buying a stake in online travel aggregator Cleartrip Pvt Ltd. as domestic travel rebounds in India after pandemic-led movement curbs were eased.
Adani Enterprises Ltd., the group’s flagship, has agreed to acquire a “significant minority stake” in Cleartrip for an undisclosed sum, Adani said in an exchange filing Friday. It expects the transaction to close in November.
Buying into Cleartrip, part of the Walmart Inc.-owned Flipkart Group, could boost the port-to-power conglomerate’s plans to roll out a superapp as well its airport management business. The rapidly diversifying Adani Group has emerged as the country’s largest airport operator and said the number of passengers is nearing pre-pandemic highs.
The investment will also enhance the partnership between the Adani Group and the Flipkart Group, it added.
“The Cleartrip platform will become an essential part of the broader SuperApp journey we have embarked upon,” Chairman Gautam Adani said in the statement. “We have a strongly developing relationship with Flipkart that spans multiple dimensions including data centers, fulfillment centers and now air travel.”
Flipkart Online Services Pvt. signed a pact with the Adani conglomerate in April to build one of the largest retail warehouses in India. Adani Logistics Ltd. is building a 534,000-square-feet fulfillment center — roughly the size of 11 football fields — in Mumbai and will lease it to Flipkart, as the latter braces to gain market share in India’s e-commerce market.
The recent deal will also help Adani fight rival conglomerates that are building all-in-one e-commerce apps. India’s Tata Group is getting a huge digital makeover as it is building such a superapp for its swathe of consumer products and services. Rival Reliance Industries Ltd., controlled by Mukesh Ambani, said in July it will buy a controlling stake in local search engine, Just Dial Ltd., which offers local information and buying options for everything from catering to dance classes and electronics repair shops.
Adani, who built his empire around the businesses of coal mining, electricity and ports before venturing into data centers and airports management, has seen his net worth soar 121% to $74.5 billion in 2021, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.