Google in Buyout Talks with Startups, VC Firms
Co looks at cos catering to next billion internet users
Bengaluru | New Delh i : Google has begun e xploratory t a l ks wit h startups and venture capita l investors in t he c ou nt r y in what could lead to its first acquisition of an Indian c o m p a n y, ac c or d i n g to three p e opl e d i - rectly aware of the matter.
The world’s largest internet company is seeking to directly invest in or acquire companies in India that cater to whom it refers to as the next billion internet users, these people said. “Two major areas of focus for them are products for the next bi l l i o n u s e r s and acqui-hires in high-tech areas,” one of them said, adding that a transaction is not imminent yet. Another person, an investor, said Google is unlikely to invest in consumerinternet companies such as online retailers. Google recently hired Seema Rao, who was a vice-president at investment bank Avendus Capital, to lead corporate development, or acquisitions and strategic investments, in India and Southeast Asia.
T he on l i ne s e a r ch g i a nt dominates the domestic digital advertisement market but its next phase of growth in the country would depend on how fast India is able to improve its network infrastructure and expand its number of internet users.
Google’s focus on tapping the next billion internet users, typically in India’s small cities and towns, could see it making strategic investments or acquiring technology-enabled firms in the financial services, healthcare, education or mobile utilities sectors, said the people mentioned above.
Google could make investments in or acquire tech-enabled firms in the financial services, healthcare ARINDAM Jochelle Mendonca