Money & Banking

Axis Bank acquires FreeCharge for Rs 385 cr

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on January 11, 2018

Axis Bank MD and Chief Executive Officer Shikha Sharma (file pic)

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First acquisition of a digital payments company by an Indian bank

Axis Bank, India's third largest private sector bank, has entered into an agreement with Jasper Infotech Pvt Ltd to acquire 100 per cent stake for $60 million (Rs 385 crore) in its subsidiaries, namely, FreeCharge Payment Technologies Pvt Ltd and Accelyst Solutions Pvt Ltd, which together constitute the digital payments business under the 'FreeCharge' brand. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to conclude by the end of September 2017.

Axis Bank offers key payment modes -- mobile banking, credit cards, debit cards, forex cards and UPI payments. The bank has been driving digital acceptance and has established the second largest merchant network with over 4,33,000 PoS (point of sale) machines. Axis Bank has been actively participating in market leading payment innovations through partnerships with Samsung Pay, Kochi Metro and BMTC.

Welcoming FreeCharge to the Axis Bank family, Shikha Sharma, CEO of Axis Bank said, “The acquisition of FreeCharge re-affirms Axis Bank’s determination to lead the journey of digitisation of financial services. We expect FreeCharge to contribute significantly in our aspiration to serve the digital native and mobile-first young consumers of India.”

Kunal Bahl, Co-Founder & CEO of Snapdeal, the parent company of Freecharge said, “The Axis FreeCharge combination is a potent one that has the potential to make a large impact on the digital payments and banking space. It is a win-win deal that allows Snapdeal to further focus on our core e-commerce business, while giving Axis some of the most agile and innovative technology capabilities in the financial services space in India.”

Jason Kothari, interim CEO of FreeCharge and Chief Strategy & Investment Officer of Snapdeal, will help with the integration and then resume his position at Snapdeal.

FreeCharge is a pan-India digital payments company with over 50 million registered wallet users and over 2,00,000 merchants. With more than 90 per cent of transactions originating from its app, FreeCharge is at the forefront of the mobile commerce revolution. Nearly 75 per cent of its users are under 30 years, with 85 per cent of active users accessing their financial services from a mobile device. Customers use the Freecharge wallet to make payments for telecom, DTH and broadband recharges and for utility payments, including electricity, gas and water bills. They also use FreeCharge to pay for fuel purchases at HPCL and IOCL pumps, for travel and commute needs across IRCTC, redBus, Yatra.com, ClearTrip, goibibo.com, for food delivery and dining at Dominos, Zomato, Swiggy FreshMenu, foodpanda, for movie and event tickets at bookmyshow, Cinepolis and for their shopping needs across leading offline and online merchants, including McDonalds (West and South), Pantaloons, Shoppers Stop, Café Coffee day, Barista, Heritage Fresh and many others.

Published on July 27, 2017

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