BillDesk Co-Founder & Director Srinivasu MN has rubbished reports in the media that have suggested that the company is in negotiations with Amercan Express to sell a majority stake for Rs 600 crore. Speaking with MediaNama, Srinivasu said categorically that there are no negotiations with AmEx, and that all the company’s existing investors remain on-board.
Earlier today, The Financial Express had reported that it was aware of talks between BillDesk and American Express, related to the acquisition of a majority stake. It had cited a source to report that the two companies had signed a non-disclosure agreement, and that the required due diligence was on.
BillDesk, one of the early online payment providers, was founded in 2000 by three ex-Arthur Andersen professionals, with initial funding from Bank of Baroda and the National Venture Fund for Software and Information Technology (part of SIDBI Venture Capital). Clearstone Venture Partners has also invested $5 million in the company. The company powers utility and merchant payments, including credit card payments, mobile bills, insurance, charity and others. It also powers transactions on e-commerce sites, including on Cleartrip, and claims to offer around 60 payment options. Srinivasu says that the company’s focus is now on adding more functionality and enhancing existing features.
This is not the first time that we are hearing about AmEx being in talks with an Indian entity for a payments product foray. A few months back, there were reports that AmEx was in talks with Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) to launch a JV in India that will offer financial services, including a payment gateway.
European online payment service provider Ogone is also reportedly in talks for acquisitions with companies like EBS, to enter the Indian market. The e-payment space in India has independent companies such as EBS, CC Avenue and BillDesk but the lion’s share of the space is held by large private banks like HDFC, Citibank and ICICI.