SoftBank, others eyes stake in FINO at 2K Cr valuation, Blackstone to score 4X return

FINO

The battle in fintech sector is going to get fierce in India as Japanese multinational conglomerate SoftBank is eyeing the space with its investments in Financial Information & Network Operations (FINO).

The platform provides integrated technology solutions through products such as Fino Paytech, Fino Finance, and Fino Payments Bank to widen financial inclusion in India.

Besides SoftBank, Temasek Holdings and a private equity fund managed by Morgan Stanley are also interested in the company. The three in talks to buy a one-third stake in the fintech firm at a valuation of about Rs 2,000 crore.

Importantly, in case of successful completion of the deal, the biggest benefactor will be Blackstone. The private equity firm which invested around Rs 150 crore in FINO in 2011 and has 26 per cent stake will likely to reap a four-fold return, bagging about Rs 600 crore.

Intel Capital, Headland Capital and International Finance Corporation are the other investors in the company.

FINO was launched in 2006 as a domestic remittance and payments company under the guidance of ICICI Bank. It later became an independent entity expertising in domestic remittance and digital payments.

Currently, the company has over 78 million customers through over 28,000 transaction points in 499 districts across 28 states in India. In July last year, it launched its payments bank.

Fintech sector in India is going through the most interesting phase where all the global companies are thronging to capture the market. Google’s Tez, a UPI-based payment platform launched its operation in December last year and emerged as one of the fastest growing fintech platforms.

Besides, Facebook is also testing fintech market via Whatsapp’s UPI payment. After investing  $1.4 billion in Paytm, SoftBank is spreading its bets on other fintech companies.

The Singapore government-owned investment company Temasek which touched the $10- billion investment mark in India last year is one of the key investors in financial service platform PolicyBazaar.

The development was first reported by ET.

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