yoga bar: ITC puts its hat in the ring for yoga bar stake

Tobacco-to-food consumer conglomerate ITC Limited is competing with Nestle India to buy into Yoga Bar, an 8-year old health snack company based in Bengaluru as the company is looking at growth equity, said people aware of the development.

Delhi-based Dabur, VC fund A91 Capital were among those who also looked at the opportunity but passed. Yoga Bar’s parent Sproutlife has been in the market to raise ₹150 crore from strategic and financial investors.

“We are engaged in multiple conversations with venture capital funds and consumer companies. We have not signed on the dotted line with anyone yet. Both types of investors bring in different facets. While a consumer company’s distribution strength adds value to a company like ours, funds will give the multiples that feed into the growth potential of the company,” a spokeperson for Sproutlife told ET. “We are evaluating all options but cannot comment on specifics as yet.” ITC said it declined comment on speculation.

The company founded by sisters Suhasini and Anindita Sampath, first raised funding from Fireside Ventures in 2015. The venture capital firm, co-founded by former Helion Venture co-founder Kanwaljit Singh, invested $3.3 million in the startup from 2015 to 2018, according to VCCEdge, the data and intelligence platform of VCCircle. Elevation joined Fireside in Yoga Bar’s last equity fundraise, a series C round, in August 2020. Together, the Sampath sisters have 49% stake in the company and are jointly the largest shareholder.

The new investor is likely to become a large minority shareholder. The deal contours, quantum of investment are likely to get finalised by middle of next month, sources quoted above said. Mint in its September 20 edition said Nestle is looking to take a big bite of Yoga Bar, which the latter said was inaccurate.

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