Rumors circulating that Alibaba was planning the acquisition of Ele.me, one of the major online food delivery platforms in China, has been confirmed by an insider close to the deal, Yicai.com reported.
Alibaba will buy the company as a whole, while the final purchase price is still in discussion. The current valuation of the platform is about US$9.5 billion.
What has become the focus is how Ele.me will be integrated into Alibaba. The report said it is highly possible that the firm will be placed under the leadership of Zhang Yong, Alibaba’s CEO, to act as the infrastructure of Alibaba’s new retail strategy.
Though unconfirmed, a more daring assumption is that the delivery team of Ele.me are the important resources that attracted Alibaba in the first place, which could be used for delivering of Alibaba’s new retail brand He Ma, a complex of bricks-and-clicks fresh food supermarket and restaurant.