Paytm looks to buy deals Nearbuy start-ups and Little

Online commerce and payments company Paytm is likely to acquire two startups — Nearbuy and Little for around USD 30 million, reports the Times of India. The deal will be a mix of cash and stock.

Paytm, operated by One97 Communications Pvt. Ltd, is in advanced talks to acquire two deals platforms, Nearbuy and Little, two people familiar with the development said.

The acquisitions of Nearbuy (formerly Groupon India) and Little Internet Pvt. Ltd, both of which offer discount deals at restaurants, salons and commercial establishments, will allow Paytm to boost its presence in the hyperlocal space.

The mobile wallet company is targeting 100 million active chat users by March 2018 through its newly launched chat app — Inbox. In the long-run, it plans to compete with messaging apps such as Whatsapp and Hike Messenger.

Paytm currently has about 270 million overall users. The company is targeting 500 million users by 2020.

Little Internet, which runs the Little app, had in 2015 racked up $50 million and later got on board GIC. Paytm and GIC are its significant shareholders after Tiger Global sold out from the company. While Gurgaon-based Nearbuy, which broke off from its parent Groupon India, in 2015 had scooped up a $20 million cheque from SequoiaCapital at the time. Both the companies offer deals across restaurants, movies, hotels, salons, gyms, spas. Paytm, which has been betting on its online-to-offline (O2O) model, wants to bulk up this vertical with these platforms coming into its fold.

Valued at $7 billion, Paytm is ramping up its consumer offerings beyond its core payments business after raising funds from SoftBank earlier this year and has been looking to expand its presence in the hyperlocal space. It is already an investor in Little. The Vijay Shekhar Sharma-led company plans to invest an additional Rs 250 crore in its overall deals business, sources said.

Last month, Paytm acquired a majority stake in ticketing platform Insider.in to allow events on Insider.in to show up on Paytm.

Gurugram-headquartered Nearbuy, which broke away from its NASDAQ-listed parent Groupon Inc. in 2015, was scouting for fresh equity. Groupon Inc. had sold some of its majority stake in Nearbuy to Sequoia India—which spent $20 million for the acquisition—as part of an organizational re-shuffle. The firm was subsequently re-branded Nearbuy. In 2016, the firm raised $2.2 million in debt from Blacksoil Capital.

But both Nearbuy and its rival Little struggled to expand.

Paytm, which launched its payments bank in May, raised a mammoth $1.4 billion in equity infusion from SoftBank Group Corp. in the same month. The round valued One97 Communications at $7 billion, Mint reported then.

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