Private-sector banking firm, Axis Bank has finally agreed to acquire Jasper-owned digital wallet FreeCharge for $60 Mn for about (Rs 385 crores). The purchase will help the lender enhance its digital banking services and tap into a larger customer pool.
The deal is subject to regulatory approvals by Reserve Bank of India and is likely to conclude by the end of September end.
“The whole purpose is to leverage the agile innovate culture of a start-up and combine it with the trust factor of a bank. It can be best achieved by having an independent entity,” Axis Bank MD and CEO Shikha Sharma said.
Sharma further added “The acquisition was a strategic fit for the bank and would help create an agile technology platform to service digital customers. The challenge is to leverage the strength of the two organisations to do something which is uniquely different and unique in the market place.”
Under the acquisition, Axis bank will get about 50 Mn customers which FreeCharge currently has on its digital wallet. Apart from this, the 200-member-team of FreeCharge will join Axis Bank, which will run Freecharge as a separate entity.
FreeCharge was started in August 2010 by Kunal Shah and Sandeep Tandon, which is currently India’s top payments app and being used for making prepaid, postpaid, DTH, metro recharge and utility bill payments for numerous service providers.
In 2015, e-commerce marketplace Snapdeal had acquired FreeCharge for about Rs 2,400 crore, making it one of the largest deals in the consumer internet space in India at that time.
Later, FreeCharge was failed to raise funds and was put up for sale. Since December 2016, Paytm, MobiKwik, Amazon, PayPal, Airtel Money and Naspers had been trying to acquire the firm.