Procter & Gamble has bought a 1% stake in online retailer Ocado for £5m. It is the first time the consumer goods giant has invested in a retail business.
The acquisition is part of a wider round of fund raising by Ocado, which has also sold a stake to Jorn Rausing, the TetraPak billionaire, for £13m. His trust now owns a 12.5% stake in the company.
P&G is thought to view the website as “research opportunity” to better understand how consumers use the internet
Ocado, which sells Waitrose products, has raised £295.5m in equity over the nine years since its launch. The latest round of fund raising, which is its sixth, aims to decrease its £110m debt.
The retailer has yet to make a profit and has seen sales fall back from last year’s 25% increase to £288m. It is up 17% over the calendar year.
Earlier this year, P&G launched website in the US to sell its products directly to consumers. The site, theEssentials.com, sells brands such as Braun and Gillette. It is operated by a third party and P&G denies the move puts it in competition with retailer. It claims to treat it “like any other retailer”.