in 1995, when Barry Diller took control of Silver King, a collection of twelve local TV stations, no one expected it will transform into a unique company such as InterActiveCorp (IAC).
IAC’s business strategy was to act as a vehicle that would buy and grow companies before spinning them off to public markets instead of holding on to these businesses as they became big conglomerates. companies such as Tinder, Expedia, and TripAdvisor once belonged to IAC. this was dubbed as the ‘anti-conglomerate’ strategy.
closer home, there’s another individual who is trying to do something similar. he is Sanjeev Bikhchandani, co-founder of Info Edge, more commonly known as Naukri.com.
Bikhchandani, who is a part of the first set of Indian entrepreneurs who built internet businesses in the country, took an interesting decision in 2010. he wrote a cheque worth Rs 4.7 crore to Zomato and acquired an 18.5% stake in the company.
Info Edge, which owns many internet businesses like Naukri.com, Jeevansathi.com, 99 acres.com, shiksha.com, started making strategic investments in other internet businesses. over the years, the company has evolved more into a holding company, similar to IAC, and has investments in several new-age tech firms.
and like IAC, we now see Bikhchandani’s early bets on firms such as Zomato and PolicyBazaar that went public this year pay off.
Info Edge currently holds a 15.23% stake in food delivery firm Zomato, which is worth over Rs 18,500 crore at the current market cap. the value of Info Edge’s investment skyrocketed over 1000 times during the Zomato IPO. Info Edge had also invested Rs 576 crore in PolicyBazaar and it currently holds 13.98%, which is valued at around Rs 8,000 crore.
referring to the returns Info Edge made from Zomato, Bikhchandani had written on Twitter, “Here is the ultimate evidence why India should invest more behind its startups and in early-stage VC funds.” and that’s what he has been doing for some time. Info Edge has doubled down on investing in startups and last year it registered a VC fund of $100 million. it has also made recent investments in startups like DotPe, Shipsy, and Qyuki.
while Bikhchandani has seen success from the likes of Zomato and PolicyBazaar as they went public, the jury is still out on whether he’ll see the same success in other investments and thrive successfully as an ‘anti-conglomerate’ itself.