The leadership team at online local classifieds company AskMe will buy out the stake held by Malaysia’s Astro Holdings as the international entity pulls out its investments in India.
Simultaneously, AskMe is also in discussions to raise fresh funding of up to USD 200 million to fuel its expansion plans.
“Astro is pulling out of all business and its investments in India because of the political and legal issues. AskMe Group has made a management buyout bid and leadership team is working towards taking over the company,” AskMe Group CMO and Head Digital Strategy Manav Sethi told.
He added that the transaction is expected to be completed in a week or two.
Sethi declined to comment on the valuation but said Astro holds over 95 per cent stake in Getit Infoservices, the parent firm of AskMe.
“Also, we are in advanced discussions with three entities for our next round of growth capital. This would be between USD 150-200 million and would take about 2-3 weeks,” he said without disclosing further details.
Astro had acquired stake in Getit Infomedia, which was later renamed as Getit Infoservices, in 2010.
Last month, Discovery Channel acquired a majority stake in FoodFood, a channel which Astro had launched as a joint venture with Mogae Consultants and Chef Sanjeev Kapoor.
In 2014, the CBI had chargesheeted Malaysian business tycoon T Ananda Krishnan and Astro All Asia Network PLC in Aircel-Maxis deal-related money laundering case.
Sethi said the funds raised will be used to expand the company’s operations and to focus on achieving profitability.
“We are looking at achieving profitability in businesses like grocery and NDD (next day delivery) in the next 2-3 years.
We have moved from just being a classified player to transaction-based and that is doing well for us,” he said.
Apart from the online listings, AskMe has an online platform for SMEs to sell their products AskMeBazaar, AskMe Pay and online furniture venture, Mebelkart.