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AskMe may shut shop by month-end, lays off 4,000 people

30-August-2016
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AskMe may shut shop by month-end, lays off 4,000 people

Getit Infoservices has frozen operations of its ecommerce websites, which include AskMe Bazaar, Mebelkart, AskMe Pay and AskMe Grocery, according to media reports. Reports quote an internal email circulated by Getit informing employees to work from home after August 24.

“No employee is required to report to their respective offices/location from August 24 onwards. All are required to work from home," the email is purported to read.

A similar email to staffing firm Innov informs the company that August 31 will be the last working day for all delivery boys engaged by AskMe Group.

Though the email sent to the employees calls this a “temporary suspension of operations while the strategic direction is awaited”, media reports citing minutes of a July 18 meeting between the majority and minority shareholders, suggest that the company is headed for closure.

Getit Infoservices is primarily funded by Astro Overseas Ltd.  through its investment arm, Astro Entertainment Networks Ltd (AENL). AENL owns around 98.5 per cent stake in the company.

Astro claims to have invested $300 million in Getit Infoservices over a period of six years and says that the company has not been able to turn profitable despite the investment. In 2013, Getit acquired Yellow Pages and AskMe from Network18. For their part, Getit’s minority shareholders allege that Astro has not cleared dues worth Rs 300 crore.

Despite spending massive amounts on advertising over the last couple of years and bringing in Kangana Ranaut, Farhan Akhtar and Ranbir Kapoor as brand ambassadors, Askme has found the going tough, further compounded by a general downturn in the e-commerce space in India.

E-mails spent to Askme remained unanswered at the time of publishing of this article. Meanwhile, BJP’s Subramanian Swamy has written to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to intervene and prevent the closure of Askme. 

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