Prosus acquires Indian payments company BillDesk in a mega $4.7bn deal

Global consumer internet group Prosus has entered into a new deal with payments FinTech PayU to acquire online payment gateway provider BillDesk for $4.7bn.

The proposed acquisition will see PayU, the payments and FinTech business of Prosus that operates in more than 20 markets, become one of the leading online payment providers globally by total payment volume (TPV), the company said.

BillDesk was founded in 2000 by MN Srinivasu, Ajay Kaushal and Karthik Ganapathy and was backed by investors like Clearstone, Visa and Temasek among others.

Together, PayU India and BillDesk will be able to meet the changing payments needs of digital consumers, merchants and Government enterprises in India and offer state-of-the-art technology to even more of the excluded sections of society, while adhering to the regulatory environment in India and delivering robust consumer protection, the company added.

Prosus group EO Bob van Dijk said, “We have a long and deep relationship with India, having supported and partnered with some of its most dynamic entrepreneurs and new tech businesses since 2005. We’ve invested close to $6bn in Indian tech to date, and this deal will see that increase to more than $10bn.

“Our announcement today reflects Prosus’ desire to build valuable, global consumer internet businesses that provide useful products and services for millions of people in their everyday lives. Along with classifieds, food delivery, and education technology, payments and fintech is a core segment for Prosus, and India remains our number one investment destination,” he added.

The transaction, which is subject to approval from the Competition Commission of India, builds on previous successful acquisitions by PayU in India, including CitrusPay, Paysense and Wibmo. The company added that PayU India and BillDesk run complementary businesses within India’s digital payment industry. Together, the two expect to create a financial ecosystem handling four billion transactions annually – four times PayU’s current level in India.​

PayU CEO Laurent Le Moal said, “We believe this transaction will stimulate both innovation and competition within India’s digital payments industry. This will not only help to strengthen India’s digital economy, but also bring financial services to those who may have historically been excluded.”

PayU operates across three businesses – Payments for domestic and cross border transactions, Credit solutions for consumers and small businesses and strategic investments in fintech companies.

For the financial year ended March 2021, PayU’s TPV grew 51% year-on-year to $55bn across India, Latin America and EMEA.

MN Srinivasu, Co-founder of BillDesk, said, “BillDesk has been a pioneer in driving digital payments in India for well over a decade. This investment by Prosus validates the significant opportunity in India for digital payments that is being propelled by innovation and the progressive regulatory framework put into place by the RBI.”

“BillDesk has always been committed to making payments faster, easier and more secure. We are excited about what the two great teams at BillDesk and PayU can deliver together as a driving force within the evolving digital payments landscape in India,” he added.

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