Asia Digest: J-Star exits Japan TV shopping unit; Grab tests next-day grocery delivery in Malaysia

Tokyo-based PE firm J-Star has sold Itty Inc, a Japanese TV shopping business, to TV Asahi Corporation, while Grab has started next-day grocery delivery in select areas in Malaysia.

J-Star exits Japan TV shopping business

Tokyo-headquartered private equity firm J-Star has sold Itty Inc, a Japanese TV shopping business that specialises in healthy living products to TV Asahi Corporation.

According to an announcement, the firm said that it has concluded the contract to transfer all the stocks it holds in Itty. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Itty Inc. creates its own healthcare products that are sold directly to end-users on its e-commerce website. There is also a wholesale business to distribute these products to retailers. “We believe the transaction will aid Itty gain wider access to clients and realise further growth,” J-Star said in the announcement.

J-Star bought Itty in 2018 through its third Japan middle-market fund which reached a hard close at $290 million in 2017. J-Star targets mid- to small-sized Japanese companies where it focuses on controlling buyout or co-controlling buyout deals.

Grab tests next-day grocery delivery in Malaysia

Southeast Asian ride-hailing giant Grab has pilot launched a new service called GrabSupermarket in select areas of Malaysia on Wednesday.

GrabSupermarket is Grab’s first online grocery delivery via a dark store model in Malaysia, its website showed. During the pilot, the service is available for consumers in Petaling Jaya, a satellite city near Kuala Lumpur.

Users will be able to get their orders delivered the next day, with zero delivery fee. Customers can choose from a wide selection including fresh produce, frozen food, packaged food & beverages, homecare & household products, personal health & supplements and others, its website showed.

The new service is different from GrabMart, its on-demand everyday goods delivery service which is delivered to customers within 30 minutes.

The pilot launch of the new service came after Malaysia re-imposed strict conditional movement control orders (CMCO) in most of its states until December 6, as the country tries to contain a resurgence of  COVID-19 cases. Under the CMCO, most businesses are allowed to operate but with shorter operating hours and shops and restaurants will have to follow stricter standard operating procedures.

Since the pandemic hit the ride-hailing services due to stay home orders, ride-hailing firms including Grab have seen pivoting to expand delivery services for food and groceries. GrabSupermarket could tap into increased demand in grocery delivery as Malaysians are encouraged to stay home to help lower the number of infection cases. Some of Grab car drivers had started to deliver food and groceries as ride-hailing services demand declined.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.