Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is in the efforts to buy the food delivery platform Ele.me but no deal has taken place yet on of the stakeholders in the company said.
Beijing Hualian Department Store Co. Ltd. said Alibaba was in talks with Rajax, owner of Ele.me, about adding to the roughly quarter stake in the platform the e-commerce giant already owns.
Rajax shareholder Hualian, which has a 2% stake in its statement said, “Alibaba has recently contacted all the owners of Rajax and expressed its intention to buy."
Hualian said, "However, the company has not currently signed any agreement to transfer any equity in Rajax to Alibaba. Key issues like price, timing, volume and the method of any equity transfer are still under discussion.
Two people with knowledge of the plans said Alibaba made the proposal to buy the entire stake in Ele.me this week. Negotiations were at an early stage and that the deal would help Alibaba by giving it access to Ele.me's fleet of registered delivery personnel.
Bloomberg has reported that Alibaba would buy out other investors in Ele.me including rival tech giant Baidu Inc, helping boost its last-mile delivery and heating up a battle in food delivery with Meituan-Dianping.
Tencent backed Meituan-Dianping has been raising funds to expand and is eyeing a potential initial public offering as early as this year.
Ele.me, which roughly translates as "Hungry?", is part of a fast-growing - though fiercely competitive market in China being driven by consumers eager to make purchases on their smart phone, from groceries to cinema tickets.