Singapore’s Qoo10 acquires Indian online marketplace ShopClues

Qoo10, a Singapore-based e-commerce firm, has acquired India’s online marketplace ShopClues in an all-stock deal, the two companies said Thursday. The deal, which per two people familiar with the matter valued ShopClues between $50 million and $80 million, ends years-long struggle at the Indian firm, which was valued at $1.1 billion in 2016, to find a new home. ShopClues will be merged with eBay-backed Qoo10 as part of the agreement.

ShopClues, founded in 2011 and a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S.-based Clues Network Inc., sells electronics and home, kitchen and lifestyle items to users in small cities and towns in India. As of earlier this year, the company claimed it was handling more than 60,000 deliveries a day. It has built a network of more than 700,000 small and micro-merchants.

The two companies said these merchants from ShopClues “will be able to access global markets via Qoo10’s presence in Southeast Asia.” They added, “similarly, Qoo10’s merchants and its cross-border logistics business will get access to the large Indian market with their high-quality, value-for-money products.”

The merger has been approved by the board of directors and major shareholders of both companies, they said. The deal includes purchase of Smartship and Momoe enterprise services and Ezonow social commerce platform that ShopClues operated.

Qoo10, which operates in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, China and Hong Kong, said it hopes the new deal will help it further expand its business in South Asia.

The announcement today comes months after ShopClues was in talks with Indian online retailer Snapdeal for a sale. At the time, ShopClues was valued at about $200 million. ShopClues has raised more than $250 million over the years from a number of high-profile investors, including Tiger Global and Nexus Venture Partners.

In 2016, when it raised about $140 million from Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and Tiger Global Management and Nexus Venture Partners, the startup was valued at $1.1 billion, it claimed at the time. Sanjay Sethi, co-founder and CEO of ShopClues, told TechCrunch at the time that the startup would go public in a year.

The company has been struggling to improve its revenue for several years, during which it engaged in merger conversations with every e-commerce player, including Flipkart, Amazon India and Paytm. Last year, ShopClues raised $16 million — something it never announced or acknowledged publicly — and tried to assuage employees that the company had major ambitions and planned to expand to the U.S., Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.