Paytm, India’s largest digital payments platform announced the acquisition of discovery and deals platforms for local merchants Nearby and Little Internet. According to the official statement, Paytm has arranged a merger of these two well funded startups.
Speaking about the acquisition and the subsequent merger, Paytm’s founder and CEO Vijay Sekhar Sharma said, “This combination of Nearby and Little marks a great opportunity for us to reinforce our commitment to support small and large retailers in the new age of mobile commerce and payments.”
In an attempt expand its offline merchant base, Paytm became the majority shareholder of the merged entity through this strategic investment. Currently, Nearbuy and Little together have a network of 40,000 small and large merchants across food, beauty, travel and other categories. With a $ 25 million capital infusion from Paytm, the merged entity is expected to be valued at $ 100 million.
The online payments and ecommerce company initially acquired 100% equity in Little and gained majority shareholding in the merged entity through a share swap with Nearbuy. Along with Paytm, Sequoia India and the founders of Nearbuy Ankur Warikoo, Ravi Shankar and Snehesh Mitra have a minority stake in the merged firm.
Founded by SoSasta, Nearby was acquired by NASDAQ listed Groupon Inc., in 2011 and was renamed as Groupon India in 2013. Without giving out any details regarding the transaction, Nearby’s CEO Ankur Waikoo said, “In the local commerce space, Little Internet and Nearbuy combined will own 88% of the market share. There are around half a million merchants in the organized retail space, which we would like to bring on our platform.”
Launched in 2015, Little was backed by Paytm since the beginning with a $50 million investment along with SAIF Partners and Tiger Global Management. It is still unclear if Paytm bought out SAIF and Tiger’s stake in Little. Paytm has been aggressively expanding its services in categories which use digital payments services. The company also raised $ 1.4 billion in fresh funding from Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp., in May this year.