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Update: Why Would FutureBazaar Want To Acquire Shopping Biz Chaupaati Bazaar?

Update: the deal is done, and it appears to be for the platform, team and existing customer relationships. In a blog post, Kashyap Deorah, founder and CEO of Chaupaati Bazaar, which also runs phonepedeal.com, has said that their phone based commerce platform has been used to sell mobile, electronics, magazines, toys, with “hundreds of thousands of phone calls and tens of thousands of orders with happy customers across 150+ Indian cities.”

Deorah adds that following the integration with FutureBazaar, “Chaupaati Bazaar will build a virtual marketplace model for tens of thousands of brand and retail partners,” and that “Future Group is making more investments in scaling the phone commerce business reaching out through print, television, retail, SMS, user communities, and other media.” Phonepedeal does appear to have an impressive roster of clients – Kelvinator, Sansui, Videocon, Electrolux, Jaipan, Whirlpool, Lava Mobile Phones, Casio, Micromax, Fernsnpetals, Macmillan, Penguin Books, Amar Chitra Katha, Infomedia18, Tinkle, BIG Home Video, Vodafone, among others.

Deorah will serve as the CEO of Phone Commerce. He has sold a company earlier – he had co-founded Righthalf, the first campus start-up as part of the IIT Bombay Business Incubator, which was bought by Stratify. He then worked wit startups in Silicon Valley, before opening the Geodesic office in August 2005, as VP (Business Development).

Earlier: FutureBazaar may acquire Chaupaati Bazaar, an online and telephone shopping business, reports The Economic Times, quoting unnamed sources. There’s no confirmation of the deal, not has a deal value been specified.

Now, what is Chaupaati.in and why would FutureBazaar want to acquire it? According to the report, Chaupaati Bazaar allows customers to place orders on the phone, and allows credit card payments through Interactive Voice Response system. It also has a little known website called Chaupaati.in. The deal value has not been mentioned.

Now, a couple of months ago, ET had reported Biyani’s plans for acquiring a digital business. Perhaps this is it. On the face of it, the acquisition appears to be a technology acquisition, looking to reduce time to market for deployment of phone based commerce services.

Biyani had, in particular, talked of teleshopping plans. The teleshopping space in India is growing, and more and more players are joining in: Network18’s HomeShop18 was the first major organized Indian player, and News Corp owned STAR CJ has recently launched its own channel. Naaptol.com recently raised funding from Canaan Partners, and Cellcast, another Canaan funded entity, has just launched a group buying TV show.

Shopping appears to be a hot segment on TV, and to close sales and service the buyers, call centers are usually deployed. Perhaps this is where a business like Chaupaati Bazaar could be a fit for FutureBazaar…I don’t think it will be about online shopping. But then again, couldn’t any vendor enable IVR based payments for the company? Why would it want to buy Chaupaati Bazaar? What do you think?


Would You Bet Rs. 33 Crore On Naaptol? Canaan Partners Has
Group Buying Moves To TV: Cellcast Launches Bargain TV Show
– STAR CJ CEO Paritosh Joshi On Distribution Plans, Costs, Changing Perception
– STAR CJ CEO Paritosh Joshi On Programming, Languages, HomeShop18, Digital
FutureGroup In Talks To Acquire Digital Services Co; Plans Mobile, Kiosk Initiatives
Shop & Talk: Future Group, Tata Indicom To Launch T-24
FutureBazaar Reports Rs. 718.8M Income, Rs 1.4M Loss For FY08; BestBuy Model

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