Prosus to acquire and merge India’s Billdesk for $4.7B

Prosus, a Dutch venture builder who owns and operates payment processing subsidiary PayU, agreed to acquire Indian digital payment company Billdesk for $4.7 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Prosus intends to merge BillDesk with its own payment processing fintech, PayU, to create one of the largest online payment providers in the globe. The new financial ecosystem is expected to handle four billion transactions annually, four times what PayU handles currently in India.

“Our announcement today reflects Prosus’s desire to build valuable, global consumer internet businesses that provide useful products and services for millions of people in their everyday lives. Along with classifieds, food delivery and education technology, payments and fintech is a core segment for Prosus, and India remains our number one investment destination,” Prosus Group CEO Bob van Djik said.

Prosus’ acquisition highlights a pattern for the company, which previously hit large with an early investment on Chinese multinational tech company Tencent, and has been making large investments since selling its stake in the company.

To put it in perspective, Prosus has made over 10 investments in rounds over $15 million since June, with five of those rounds over $100 million.

The large move to India makes sense, considering China’s ongoing crack down on tech and private equity, and India’s moves to expand and open its tech industry. This includes India prompting open banking reform with its Unified Payment Infrastructure (UPI), and growing Big Tech involvement in the country.

2021 Fiscal Year reports by the Reserve Bank of India say that the number of digital retail payment transactions have grown from 24 billion in 2018-19 to over 44 billion in 2020-21, according to FinExtra.

This clearly caught Prosus’ eye, especially when you consider Prosus’ previous Indian investments and PayU’s multitude of acquisitions they have made recently, including CitrusPay, Paysense and Wibmo.

“We’ve invested close to US$6 billion in Indian tech to date, and this deal will see that increase to more than US$10 billion,” van Dijk said.

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