ET Now on June 9, 2021, reported that BharatPe was on the verge of acquiring Payback from American Express in a $27mn deal. And that came true 24 hours later! BharatPe issued a statement announcing its first-ever acquisition. Payback is the business of running loyalty programs and rewards for online and offline shopping. Its client list includes ICICI Bank, IndusInd Bank and the Future Group.
Interestingly, BharatPe a few months ago appointed the Payback India CEO as its own group president. According to the Payback website, its been in India for over a decade, and has gross merchandise value (GMV) of over Rs 1 lakh crore.
Why did BharatPe buy Payback?
Credit on UPI is being spoken of as the next big growth trigger for Unified Payment Interface (UPI). The new wave of fintech innovation is expected to be to offer credit facilities to help users to defer payments. Think of it as getting instant credit across retail stores and e-commerce platforms by using UPI. By buying Payback, BharatPe will get to break into bigger merchants and start building loyalty programs for the credit side.
BharatPe was valued at $925 million this February post a Series-D fundraise led by Coatue Management. This Sequoia Capital-backed startup is headquartered out of New Delhi and has often spoken about its ambition to be India's largest B2B financial services company. BharatPe helps merchants accept digital payments as well as secure working capital. It gets offline merchants on board by making them use QR codes and UPI-supported point of sale machines. At the core of BharatPe's philosophy is the merchant, and thus it refuses to charge them for access to QR codes. Instead, it wants to make money from lending.
It is also being seen as a front runner for taking over PMC Bank, which will help BharatPe source cheap capital for lending. The banking regulator Reserve Bank Of India had superseded the PMC Bank board in 2019 post an alleged fraud involving the real estate company HDIL.
Watch BharatPe co-founder and CEO Ashneer Grover talking to ET Now’s Nayantara Rai on its first-ever acquisition.
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