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Exclusive: MX Player likely to turn unicorn with over $100 Mn in fresh funding

MX Player, which owns and operates short video entertainment app MX TakaTak, is in talks with existing and new investors to raise up to $150 million in a new round, according to three people aware of the details of the transaction. This would be the second external fundraise for the firm that was acquired by Times Internet in early-2018.

“Existing investor Tencent will join the round with a sizeable chunk along with an American late-stage investor,” said one of the sources requesting anonymity. “The fresh round, which is in the range of $100-150 million, will be executed at over $900 million valuation and the company may become a unicorn.”

According to sources, New York-based merchant bank Raine Group is advising MX Player on the deal. “Raine is likely to participate in the new round with its own money as well,” said the second person who wished not to be named as the discussions are private. MX Player has been positioning MX TakaTak as an anchor for the new fundraise, the person added.

The fresh proceeds will help MX TakaTak maintain its pole position in the short video entertainment space. “MX TakaTak has been spending heavily to drive downloads and retain users. Its monthly burn is in the range of $5-7 million,” said the person quoted at the beginning of the story.

Entrackr’s queries sent to MX Player, Tencent and Raine Group didn’t elicit any immediate response. We will update the story in case they do.

Soon after the ban on TikTok and other China-linked short video apps, MX Player along with ShareChat and Dailyhunt had launched their respective clone apps in mid-2020. Since then, these three apps have emerged as the top three contenders. 

MX TakaTak was the most downloaded app in India in the last two months as per Sensor Tower data with 35 million downloads in January and 36.5 million in February. 

With the ban on TikTok in India unlikely to be lifted in the near future, large investors have started choosing their bets in the Indian short video entertainment space. Google had already led a $150 million round in InMobi’s Glance which owns Roposo and backed Dailyhunt in a $100 million round. Dailyhunt had launched a short video app, Josh, soon after a ban on TikTok.

Meanwhile, Google is also in talks with ShareChat to lead a large round. Twitter, which is an existing investor in ShareChat, had also explored talks to acquire the Bengaluru-based firm and launch Moj as TikTok’s global alternative. 

As for MX Player, if the deal goes through, it is likely to be the fourth unicorn from the short video entertainment space. While Dailyhunt and InMobi’s Glance were valued at over $1 billion in their last financing rounds, ShareChat and MX Player will also make it to the coveted club of unicorns soon.

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