Paytm picks up ma­jor­ity stake in Near­buy-Lit­tle In­ter­net com­bine

Merged en­tity will cre­ate In­dia’s largest dis­cov­ery and deals plat­form for lo­cal mer­chants

The Hindu Business Line - - NEWS -

Deals plat­forms Near­buy and Lit­tle In­ter­net have merged their op­er­a­tions, with Paytm pick­ing up a ma­jor­ity stake in the com­bined en­tity, the fi­nan­cial ser­vices plat­form said on Thurs­day.

While the com­pa­nies de­clined to of­fer de­tails on the deal, mul­ti­ple sources said Paytm has in­vested $25 mil­lion (over ₹161.45 crore), and will hold 51 per cent stake in the joint en­tity.

Sources said founders of Lit­tle, Man­ish Cho­pra and Satish Mani, will exit fol­low­ing the merger. The en­ti­ties are ex­pected to clock cu­mu­la­tive rev­enues of un­der $100 mil­lion by March 2018, they said.

The sources did not wish to be iden­ti­fied as the deal is pri­vate. Paytm, which was an in­vestor in Lit­tle, also de­clined to com­ment on the mat­ter.

“Paytm’s strate­gic hold­ing in Near­buy-Lit­tle will pro­vide our mer­chant part­ners an op­por­tu­nity to of­fer deals to ac­quire new cus­tomers and grow their business,” a com­pany state­ment said.

The deal will cre­ate In­dia’s largest dis­cov­ery and deals plat­form for lo­cal mer­chants.

En­hanced sup­port

Ex­ist­ing share­hold­ers of Near­buy, in­clud­ing Se­quoia In­dia, will also have shares in the merged en­tity that will work with over 40,000 mer­chants across cat­e­gories like food, beauty and travel.

Be­sides, Paytm will also show­case a large num­ber of these deals on its plat­forms for con­sumers, at a later stage.

“This com­bi­na­tion of Near­buy and Lit­tle marks a great op­por­tu­nity for us to re­in­force our com­mit­ment to sup­port small and large re­tail­ers in the new age of mobile com­merce and Pay­ments,” said Vi­jay Shekhar Sharma, Paytm founder and CEO.

Paytm has been ac­tively in­vest­ing in var­i­ous com­pa­nies to beef up its on­line ser­vices of­fer­ings. In July, it had ac­quired stake in on­line tick­et­ing and events plat­form In­

For­merly part of Groupon, Near­buy parted from its par­ent in 2015. It was re­branded as Near­buy af­ter the pro­mot­ers of the In­dian arm and pri­vate eq­uity in­vestor Se­quoia pumped in funds.

“Lit­tle In­ter­net and Near­buy com­bined will own 88 per cent of the mar­ket share,” said Near­buy Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Ankur Warikoo said.

“By the end of 2018, we plan to be work­ing with 100,000 mer­chants. There are around half a mil­lion mer­chants in the or­gan­ised re­tail space, which we pre­fer to bring on our plat­form.”

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