Amazon shows interest in Freecharge, makes an offer of $80 million

Amazon

After Flipkart, Paytm, Axis Bank, Airtel, Bank of Baroda and Times Internet, a new name has joined the party of bidder for Freecharge. Seattle-headquartered Amazon has made the latest bid for Jasper Infotech-owned Freecharge, according to an ET report.

Taking a step towards the deal, the report explained, Amazon and Jasper Infotech signed a term sheet last week and the former is ready to buy the digital payment platform for around $70-80 million.

If Amazon successfully acquires Freecharge, it will most likely roll the payment platform into its existing payments entity, Amazon Pay. The online retail giant, which has committed to invest $5 billion in its local operations, recently pumped in Rs 130 crore more into Amazon Pay India.

In April, Amazon India had been granted a licence by the Reserve Bank of India to operate a pre-paid payment instrument or wallet. The central bank issued the wallet licence in the name of Amazon Online Distribution Services, which also operates Amazon Pay that allows users to transact with offline partners of Amazon and online for Amazon’s marketplace services on Amazon.in and Amazon Now.

Last week, Entrackr reported that Paytm is still eyeing Freecharge and is waiting to hear back from them. In May, Paytm had signed a non-exclusive term sheet to acquire rival FreeCharge.

Another bidder Axis Bank is also one of the frontrunners to acquire FreeCharge for about $60-$65 million.

Bank of Baroda has made the bidding price in the range of $60-75 million and it will be an all-cash acquisition.

The latest development has made Freecharge the most sought-after wallet. Despite, its popularity the digital payment platform has not been able to push its bidding price beyond $80 million (by Amazon).

FreeCharge was acquired by Jasper in 2015 in a cash-and-stock deal estimated at $400-450 million, in what was then the largest acquisition in the Indian startup space.

However, the payments unit has been seeking a buyer for several months now, even as its parent negotiates the terms for its own sale. At one point, Jasper was eyeing a valuation of close to $1 billion for FreeCharge, as it tried to raise cash for unit, a process that began in late 2015.

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