Times Internet and Bank of Baroda are in talks with FreeCharge for an all-cash acquisition, with an expected deal size between $60 million-70 million. The terms of the transaction would ensure that FreeCharge’s team of 200-250 employees is also absorbed by the firm that takes over.
As per a report by MoneyControl, Bank of Baroda is considering this deal to leverage FreeCharge’s business to expand its mobile wallet service. It had launched the service, M-Clip last year, and the Jasper InfoTech-owned company will help it reach young audiences across the country. Whereas Times Internet will be seen adding this payments wallet to its existing portfolio including Indiatimes Shopping, Gaana and Cricbuzz etc. This would help it to facilitate monetization in online shopping space and bill payments.
One of the persons, privy to the matter, said,
The company can try and make small-ticket purchases on its platforms such as a song pack easily available through a wallet. The customers are not usually comfortable and willing to use debit or credit card that involve two-factor authentication for making low ticket online purchases.
This news comes few weeks after reports surfaced that PayTm had signed a non-exclusive agreement to acquire major FreeCharge from Snapdeal. Sources close to the matter had suggested that the value of the payments firm is slashed by as much as 80%. Hence, if, Paytm goes ahead with the deal, FreeCharge’s value would see a steep decline to $45 million-$90 million from $450 million value, Snapdeal acquired it for. The source further added,
All the three are the frontrunners for the deal.
Snapdeal had taken over FreeCharge in April 2015 for $450 million. In addition, it had recently raised $3.38 million from Jasper Infotech. The former itself is considering a merger with arch rival Flipkart in the near future.
The report states, besides the three firms, two more parties are considering this deal. There aren’t much details regarding them except that one is said to be a Singapore-based cohort of investors and other is some public lender.