Indian E-Commerce Giant Snapdeal Buys Bill Payment Service FreeCharge
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Snapdeal, the SoftBank- and eBay-backed online commerce company in India, has completed what it called “one of the biggest acquisitions in the history of the internet industry in India” after it announced the acquisition of online transaction service FreeCharge.
The companies are not disclosing a price, but the Economic Times, which first reported on an impending deal last month, previously pegged its valuation at $450 million. If correct, that would surpass Snapdeal rival Flipkart’s purchase of Myntra last year, which we understand was $330 million.
Snapdeal said FreeCharge will continue to “function as an independent platform and all aspects of [its] shopping experience will remain intact,” though it plans to extend the integration between the two services.
FreeCharge is a service that rewards users with coupons when they top up their phone credit or pay utility bills. It claims more than 15 million users in India — it recently raised an $80 million Series C and counts Sequoia Capital among its investors. (In total, it raised $115 million.) FreeCharge is particularly interesting because a high proportion of its business comes from mobile devices (85 percent), while more than half of its customers have payment cards associated with their accounts — making them ripe for conversion into regular Snapdeal customers.