Money & Banking

PhonePe files plaint with SEBI against Ventureast

Mumbai | Updated on June 13, 2021

The mobile payment platform accuses the AIF of violations of SEBI’s code of conduct

PhonePe has filed a complaint against Ventureast Proactive Fund-II (VPF), an AIF operating out of India, with SEBI over its planned acquisition of OSLabs.

“The complaint relates to multiple violations of SEBI’s code of conduct in relation to VPF’s recent side dealings with Affle which are a deliberate bad faith attempt to scuttle OSLabs majority acquisition by PhonePe,” it said in a statement.

“VPF has not only broken SEBI’s code of conduct, but it has also acted in complete negligence of its fiduciary duties as a large shareholder of IndusOS,” said Sameer Nigam, CEO and Founder, PhonePe.

“By deliberately derailing PhonePe’s acquisition of IndusOS, a deal which all three OSLabs founders continue to also believe is in their company’s best long-term interests, VPF has also hurt OSLabs’ long term interests,” he further said, adding that it is important to expose such unethical conduct by VPF for the sake of the larger start-up ecosystem.

“We have a very strong case and are confident that we will prevail on both fronts, and hopefully in the process also create a strong deterrent against bad actors trying to bully young startups,” Nigam said in the statement.

The SEBI complaint in India is in addition to a lawsuit that PhonePe has already filed against Ventureast and Affle in the Singapore High Court.

The lawsuit claims that VPF deliberately deceived PhonePe, by continuing to engage PhonePe and OSLabs on the sale of its shares in OSLabs in favour of PhonePe even though it had sold those same shares to Affle in a side deal without OSLabs and PhonePe’s knowledge on a prior date during a legally binding no-shop period, the statement said.

While the legal matters will be settled in court, PhonePe has now approached SEBI to look into these gross ethical violations and dereliction of VPF’s fiduciary duties to protect the interests of OSLabs, its investee company, it added.

Published on June 12, 2021

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