Axis Bank in talks to acquire FreeCharge: Report

CIOL Writers
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CIOL- Amazon joins the fray with $70-$80mn bid to acquire FreeCharge

Private sector bank, Axis Bank is reportedly in talks to acquire mobile wallet firm FreeCharge, according to an Economic Times report.


Citing three persons in the know of things, the report says that the deal could fetch $100 million for parent company Jasper. While none of the two companies involved have confirmed the reports, FreeCharge's desperate search for a buyer is no secret in the tech industry. The mobile wallet firm has been in talks with multiple companies for an acquisition in the past one year, though the discussions never materialized.

In May, there were reports that Alibaba-backed Paytm has signed a non-exclusive term sheet to acquire Snapdeal’s digital payments unit FreeCharge in an all-cash deal, pegged at $45-90 million. These were followed by reports of many others like MobiKwik, Bank of Baroda and Times Internet being also in the fray to buy struggling wallet company.

Apparently, Axis Bank is currently conducting due diligence on the Snapdeal-owned digital wallet service. Founded in 2010 by Sandeep Tandon and Kunal Shah, FreeCharge was bought by e-commerce platform Snapdeal for $400 million in 2015. The mobile-wallet has been awaiting a potential buyer since the time SoftBank proposed the merger of its parent entity Snapdeal with Flipkart.

While funding has been a perpetual issue with FreeCharge, other structural and leadership changes have also marred the company's value. The company appointed former Housing CEO Jason Kothari as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). This appointment came within a month of its earlier CEO Govind Rajan quitting the company. Govind Rajan had replaced Kunal Shah as the CEO in May 2016.

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