Prosus closes deal to buy BillDesk in India for $ 4.7 billion

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NEW DELHI: Prosus NV has agreed to acquire Indian online payment service BillDesk for 345 billion rupees (US $ 4.7 billion or RM 19.5 billion), making it its largest global acquisition in this day in this Asian country.

The European Investment Hub’s PayU has struck a deal to buy the 11-year-old startup, creating a digital payments giant with a total volume of US $ 147 billion (RM 612 billion).

This will bring Prosus’ investment in India to more than $ 10 billion (RM42 billion) to date, the company said in a statement.

Prosus, whose biggest investment is Tencent Holdings Ltd, will enter an Indian payments arena about to take off. More than 200 million more people will adopt digital payments there over the next three years, fueling a 10-fold increase in annual transactions per person to 220, Prosus said, citing estimates from India’s central bank.

The Prosus deal could intensify competition in the teeming industry.

Hundreds of startups, from BillDesk to PhonePe to Walmart Inc and Paytm co-backed by Ant Group, offer their customers everything from micro-loans to trading in gold.

BillDesk, backed by Visa, was one of the pioneers of online payments in India alongside its biggest rival Paytm.

Its services are common, especially at retailers nationwide.

Investor interest in India is accelerating as Beijing continues a campaign to curb technology sectors, from online commerce and fintech to games.

Unlike China, where online usage is much more developed, many of India’s 625 million internet users are entering the world of video streaming, social media and e-commerce.

Online shopping opportunities are particularly attractive, as e-commerce accounts for less than 3% of retail transactions.

Tech startups in India are still paying to build supply chain and delivery networks.

India saw a record US $ 6.3 billion (RM 26.2 billion) in funding and deals for tech startups in the second quarter, while funding for China-based companies fell by 18% from a peak of $ 27.7 billion (RM 115 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to data from research firm CB Insights.

The acquisition would be Prosus’ largest to date, eclipsing its roughly $ 1.8 billion (RM 7.5 billion) investment in Stack Exchange Inc, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Its PayU unit increased total payment volume by 51% in the year ended March to $ 55 billion (RM 229 billion), Prosus said. – Bloomberg


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