Troubled ecommerce company, Snapdeal has finally made up its mind to sell its digital payments platform, FreeCharge to country’s third-largest private sector lender, Axis Bank, according to a report in the Economic Times (ET).
The sale marks the end of a two year long process where numerous buyers came forward to pitch their bid for FreeCharge. Jasper Infotech, FreeCharge’s parent company which also owns and operates Snapdeal, had also been on a lookout to raise fresh funds for the payments provider so as to compete head-to-head with the growing popularity of Paytm in the country.
According to the ET report, the deal could end up valuing FreeCharge somewhere between Rs 385 crore-Rs 390 crore, which would be a steep plunge from the Rs 2,400 crore figure that Jasper Infotech paid in the year 2015 to acquire the company.
Founded in 2010 by Kunal Shah and Sandeep Tandon, FreeCharge was acquired by Snapdeal in April 2015 for a whopping $450 million. It is currently valued at less than 80% of that amount. The payments provider recently also received an investment of $3.38 million from its parent Jasper Infotech itself.
The report also revealed that an official announcement on the sale could be made anytime now.
Earlier in the week, we reported how global ecommerce giant Amazon had made a late $70-$80 million (Rs 466 crore- Rs 532 crore) bid to acquire the digital payments platform owned by troubled e-commerce marketplace Snapdeal.
While Amazon’s bid of $70-$80 million was higher than Axis Bank’s $60-$65 million bid but, it seems, their lazy attitude of getting on the train at the very last moment costed them the deal.
Prior to Amazon and Axis Bank, there have been several other offers on Snapdeal’s plate for its payment unit. Earlier this year, we have reported how Paytm, MobiKwik, Bank of Baroda (BOB) and Times Internet (Read Here) were all interested in buying the online mobile wallet on sale. In fact, Paytm had even signed a non-exclusive term sheet with FreeCharge at an expected deal value of $45 – $90 million, but the talks never progressed beyond that.
The company backed by investors such as Valiant Capital Management, Tybourne Capital Management, and Sequoia Capital had secured total of $177.65 million in six rounds of funding including the funds infused by its parent company.
According to the ET report, not only has the Snapdeal board green lighted FreeCharge’s sale, it has also given a go ahead to Flipkart’s revised offer for Snapdeal and an official announcement on the same can also be made within this week.
The troubled e-commerce player received a total of two offers from the Indian ecommerce leader Flipkart for an all-stake acquisition in July. Snapdeal rejected Flipkart’s initial $850 million buyout offer as Snapdeal’s board felt that the offer made by the ecommerce leader undervalued their company. But, since Flipkart wasn’t yet ready to give up on Snapdeal, it made a second offer of around $900 million-$950 million.
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