Money & Banking

Naspers’ arm-backed PayU to acquire BillDesk for $4.7 billion

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on August 31, 2021

Prosus’ payments firm makes one of the largest buys in fintech sector

In one of the largest deals in India’s booming fintech sector, Naspers’ technology investment arm Prosus on Tuesday acquired Mumbai-based BillDesk for $4.7 billion. The acquisition is being done through Prosus’ global fintech business PayU.

“The proposed acquisition will see PayU, the payments and fintech business of Prosus which operates in more than 20 high-growth markets, become one of the leading online payment providers globally by volume,” Prosus said in a statement.

PayU India and BillDesk run complementary businesses and the two expect to create a financial ecosystem handling four billion transactions annually, which would be four times PayU’s current level in India. The combined entity would have a total payment volume (TPV) of $147 billion. Founded in 2000, BillDesk had a TPV of over $90 billion in 2020-21. PayU has a TPV of $55 billion across India, Latin America and EMEA.

PayU’s fourth buy

This is the fourth acquisition by PayU in India after CitrusPay, Paysense and Wibmo. This marks the largest exit by an Indian start-up through an acquisition, zooming past Snapdeal’s $400-million acquisition of Freecharge, and BYJU’s $950-million buy of Aakash Educational Services.

Bob van Dijk, Group CEO of Prosus, said: “We’ve invested close to $6 billion in Indian tech to date, and this deal will see that increase to more than $10 billion... Along with classifieds, food delivery, and education technology, payments and fintech is a core segment for Prosus, and India remains our No 1 investment destination.”

Noting the complementarity of the two companies, Dijk said in a media call that payments systems need scale to be efficient.

Anirban Mukherjee, CEO of PayU India, said the company hopes to provide a full fintech ecosystem of diversified products. “We will take time to figure out how to bring the platforms together. Anything we do will be in consultation with the RBI,” he said on the roadmap.

MN Srinivasu, Co-founder of BillDesk, said in a statement that the investment by Prosus validates the significant opportunity in India for digital payments that is being propelled by innovation and the progressive regulatory framework put into place by the RBI.

Prosus, which came from Naspers, invests in areas including health, logistics, blockchain, and social commerce. It is known for its 28.9 per cent stake in Tencent and has also invested in Indian firms including Swiggy.

Published on August 31, 2021

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