Baidu is currently in negotiations to sell its delivery service Waimai to its competitor Ele.me backed by Alibaba and Ant Financial, according to financial magazine Caijing (in Chinese). Neither Baidu or Ele.me has confirmed the news so far, but Weibo users have already renamed the new company “eduzi”(饿度子), a pun on the two company’s names.
The merger is set to be announced in two to three weeks. According to reports, the two company would merge with Baidu acquiring shares in the new firm. The news comes two months after failed negotiations between Baidu Waimai with China’s leading delivery company SF Express.
The possible merger could be another step in the ongoing battle between Alibaba and Tencent which is backing another major food delivery company Meituan-Dianping. According to Caijing, Alibaba is in negotiations to take full control of Ele.me. If Alibaba succeeds in taking both Ele.me and Baidu Waimai, this would leave only two major players in China’s food delivery industry–Meituan-Dianping and Ele.me.
Another interesting twist is that Meituan-Dianping has been recently rumored to receive a $3-5 billion in funding. If the reports are true, we may be in for a serious food fight.