API Holdings, which operates the giant healthcare startup PharmEasy, said on Friday it has reached an agreement to acquire a 66.1% stake in Thyrocare, which runs a diagnostic lab chain, for about $613 million in what is the first-ever acquisition of a publicly listed firm by a unicorn startup in the world’s second most populated nation.
The transaction is subject to regulatory and other applicable customary approvals. Docon Technologies, a 100% subsidiary of API, will be the acquirer and shall make an open offer for an additional 26% stake for over $241 million, the startup said in a statement.
It’s a complex transaction. In a filing (PDF) to a local exchange, Thyrocare has disclosed that API Holdings intends to raise another financing round, where it may sell about 4.9% stake to Dr. A. Velumani, a promoter of Thyrocare, for about $202 million. This will imply a valuation of over $4 billion for the startup.
The six-year-old startup, which has raised about $572 million to date and was valued at $1.5 billion in its most recent financing round in April, counts Prosus Ventures, Temasek, Eight Roads Ventures, TPG, B Capital Group, and Bessemer Venture Partners among its investors.
Siddharth Shah, chief executive of API Holdings, said on Friday that the startup is in talks to raise a $500 million financing round at $4 billion valuation.
PharmEasy, the only healthcare unicorn startup in India, is the nation’s largest online pharmacy and diagnostics brand. It operates a business-to-business pharma marketplace with over 6,000 consultation clinics with 90,000 partner retailers across the South Asian nation.
Thyrocare is India’s largest diagnostics solution provider by volume (it performs over 110 million tests in a year). The 26-year-old firm also operates a network of over 3,330 collection centers in 2,000+ towns in India.
The proposed acquisition will enable PharmEasy to serve a patient across their entire journey in a treatment, said Shah. The startup has no plans to go public immediately, he said.
“We are delighted to be partnering Thyrocare. We will provide world class customer experience in diagnostics, rivalling our pharmacy experience by leveraging technology, and building on top of the massive scale & truly pan-India presence of Thyrocare. It is our aim to deliver all outpatient healthcare products & services to every Indian within 24 hours,” said 32-year-old Shah in a statement.
Friday’s announcement marks the latest in a series of huge transactions in the rapidly consolidating healthcare industry in India. Earlier this month, Tata Digital, the subsidiary of Tata Group, said it was acquiring a majority stake in digital health startup 1mg, valuing the startup at over $400 million. Last year, Amazon entered the space, too, launching an online pharmacy in the country.
“I am excited about this relationship, unique of its kind in Indian healthcare industry. The unique reach and strength of Thyrocare in diagnostics blended with young and dynamic team of PharmEasy will bring in better healthcare solutions for common man nationwide,” said Dr. Velumani, Chairman and MD of Thyrocare, in a statement.