SoftBank, the Japan-based venture capital firm which owns a majority share (33 percent) in Jasper Infotech, the parent company of Snapdeal, is currently said to be in talks to sell the company’s digital payments platform FreeCharge.
This news comes at a time when SoftBank is also pushing for a sale of Snapdeal to Flipkart. It has conducted a boardroom meeting with all the majority shareholders of the company, but nothing has been made certain yet (or maybe they’ve reached a conclusion?) There is currently no surety of whether the transaction between the two homegrown e-commerce giants is happening.
As per another fresh report, SoftBank is now looking to sell FreeCharge for a discount of over 50 percent — at a price of around $200 million. It must be noted that Snapdeal bought the mobile payments firm for around $400-450 million.
Paytm, backed by Alibaba and the current market leader, is one of the frontrunners to acquire FreeCharge. If the terms are agreed upon by both parties, we could see the announcement in a few weeks.
A person aware of the development said that the Vijay Shekhar Sharma-led Paytm was approached by SoftBank a few months back when Jasper Infotech was seeking a valuation of at least $500 million for Freecharge. The report quotes a person saying:
A lot has changed with both Snapdeal and Freecharge in the last quarter. Paytm is interested in Freecharge but only if the math is reworked. It also wants exclusive rights along with the deal to become the sole payments platform for Flipkart and Snapdeal.
However, the report suggests that the priority for SoftBank is currently Snapdeal and working on sorting board member’s issues and convince everyone for the sale of Snapdeal. The Japan-based giant is also looking to pick a significant stake in the largest homegrown e-commerce portal Flipkart with this sale.
This isn’t the first time we are hearing about the potential sale of FreeCharge. Earlier, the mobile payments portal had held discussions with global payment majors like PayPal, but those talks did not materialise. The company hasn’t able to attract investors for a funding round for a long time.
As per the report, Paytm is looking to shell out around $150 million, provided Freecharge comes with exclusivity rights, wherein the Noida-based company becomes the sole payment option on platforms like Snapdeal and Flipkart.
Even as the company has struggled to raise funds, it also faces issues to top-level management exits. Recently, Freecharge’s CEO Govind Rajan quit adding to the exodus of senior-level employees at both Snapdeal and the mobile wallets business.