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Exclusive: PharmEasy raises $216 Mn led by MEMG at $710 Mn valuation


API Holdings, the parent company of online drug dispenser PharmEasy, has raised Rs 1,804 crore ($216 million) led by Ranjan Pai’s Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG) and existing investors. The fresh money, however, has come with a 90% haircut in valuation from the firm’s peak worth.

The board at API Holdings passed a special resolution to allot 18,63,74,897 cumulative convertible preference shares at an issue price of Rs 96.8 each to raise Rs 1,804 crore, its regulatory filing sourced from the Registrar of Companies (RoC) shows.

MEMG family office led the round with Rs 800 crore while Prosus, Temasek, and 360 One Portfolios pumped in Rs 221 crore, Rs 183 crore, and Rs 200 crore, respectively.  CDPQ Private Equity, WSSS Investments, Goldman Sachs, and Evolution Debt Capital cumulatively participated with Rs 400 crore in the new investment.

The company will further convert the CCPSissued into equity shares in the ratio of (1:20), the filings added.

As per TheKredible’s estimates, the company has been valued at around Rs 5,904 crore or $710 million (post-allotment). This is a nearly 90% haircut in valuation of PharmEasy which was once valued at $5.6 billion in 2021.

Last month, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) cleared Ranjan Pai’s investment in PharmEasy.

The Mumbai-based firm has been trying to raise around Rs 3,500 crore since August last year to repay debt which it took from Goldman Sachs. PharmEasy defaulted on its loan terms with Goldman Sachs in June last year. Around the same time, the firm’s valuation was reduced by around 50% by its investor Janus Henderson. Neuberger Berman also cut PharmEasy’s valuation by 21.4% to $4.4 billion as of February 2023.

The Dharmil Shah-led company is also among a list of startups which postponed its IPO plan after filing draft papers with market regulator SEBI. The firm filed DRHP in November 2021 and pulled back its listing plan in August 2022 citing tough market conditions.

For the fiscal year ending in March 2023, PharmEasy saw a  16% growth in its revenue to Rs 6,644 crore against Rs 5,729 crore in FY22. As per startup data intelligence platform TheKredible, the company also curbed its losses to Rs 2,289.8 crore in FY23 as compared to Rs 2,731.7 crore in FY22.

PharmEasy’s travails have been well documented, especially post its acquisition of Thyrocare. The latest fundraising should put at rest any lingering doubts about the future of the firm. The move to expand into diagnostics has delivered very poor results for the firm, and the funding now will result in the promoters being diluted way more than they ever hoped to be. It’s a salutary lesson for many other startups, and the only silver lining is that the firm itself has survived, hopefully to get a second chance at making history.

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