Australia's Woolworths takes controlling stake in data analytics firm for $173 million


FILE PHOTO: People walk past a Woolworths supermarket following the easing of restrictions implemented to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Sydney, Australia, June 16, 2020. Picture taken June 16, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

(Reuters) - Australia's biggest supermarket chain Woolworths Group sought to take control of data analytics firm Quantium by raising its stake in the company to 75% from 47%, signalling its increasing reliance on analytics to target and retain customers.

The company said on Tuesday it will increase its shareholding in Quantium for A$223 million ($173.25 million). The deal implies a valuation of A$796 million for Quantium, nearly 20-times the value when it took a 50% stake in 2013.

Woolworths, which benefited from COVID-19-induced stockpiling in 2020, had warned in February that sales growth would slow in the months ahead as travel restrictions eased and vaccinations increased.

"Advanced analytics is key to improving the experiences, ranges and services we provide to our customers and the support we provide to our teams and suppliers," Chief Executive Officer Brad Banducci said.

"The way we gather data, interpret it, and protect it, is becoming ever more important," he said.

A new business unit "Q-Retail" will be established to focus on advanced analytics for Woolworths, the company said.

($1 = 1.2872 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Arundhati Dutta in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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