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Updated: Times Of India Group Sells Majority Stake In TimesOfMoney To Network International

Update (November 27): TimesofMoney has now officially confirmed that Network International has acquired a majority stake in the company.

While the financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed, Network International stated that Times Internet Limited will continue to remain as a minority shareholder in the TimesofMoney with board representation. London based specialist advisory firm FT Advisors Limited, AZB & Partners, and Deloitte acted as advisors to Network International for the transaction while Nishith Desai Associates, UBS, and PriceWaterhouse Coopers acted as advisors to Times Internet Limited.

Network International stated that this acquisition will allow them to launch an online remittance service between Gulf Cooperation Council and India as well as introduce new value-added remittances and retail based services in the Indian subcontinent.

These services may include improving TimesofMoney’s online merchant acquisition business and entering the white label ATMs and point of sale terminals businesses, as indicated by The Hindu Business Line report. Citing Avijit Nanda, CEO of TimesOfMoney, the report added that Timesofmoney accounted for up to $3.5 billion of the total of $65 billion in remittances into India in FY2011-12. Further, he also mentioned that Network International will retain all the 210 employees at TimesofMoney, post acquisition.

Earlier (November 20): Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd (BCCL)*, The Times of India Group, has offloaded a majority stake in its remittance services company and digital payments service provider TimesOfMoney to the UAE based Network International LLC, for an undisclosed amount, reports TechCircle.

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We’ve contacted Avijit Nanda, CEO of TimesOfMoney, who said that he’ll get back with an official response. We’ll update this post as soon as we hear from him.

This follows earlier reports which had suggested a similar development. Back then, reports had suggested that TimesOfMoney was currently valued at around Rs 700 crore and that BCCL will be exiting at a premium of close to Rs 800-1,000 crore. It was also suggested that this offloading was a part of larger management restructuring and BCCL had got investment bank UBS to advise it on finding a strategic buyer for the business. However, the TechCircle report suggests that Nishith Desai Associates were the legal advisors for this transaction.

TimesOfMoney Services

TimesOfMoney is a wholly owned subsidiary of BCCL which provided digital payment solutions, with offerings like specialized NRI services, domestic and global money transfers, e-payments and co-branded cards.

Among personal solutions, the company offered money remittance services like Remit2India and Remit2Home. While the former was an India based remittance service, the latter was a global money transfer service but didn’t offer money transfer in the domestic market. It also offered Window2India which acted as a platform for NRIs to send gifts and buy property and OutRemit, a RBI approved money transfer service offering online tuition fee transfers to educational institutions abroad.

Among business solutions, TimesOfMoney offered a payment gateway DirectPay, an online remittance tracker iExchange, a white label remittance service and a disbursement solution. The company had tied up with PayMate to offer mobile payments for online merchants in August 2009. It had also tied up with Bank of India to offer remittance solutions to NRIs in the UK and had similar partnerships with Philippines’s Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Bangladesh’s BRAC Bank and Sri Lanka’s Nations Trust Bank to offer expatriate money transfer services.

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In March 2012, Times of Money was planning to expand its payment services by entering mobile and domestic remittances services but was yet to seek Reserve Bank Of India’s permission to launch it.

In December 2009, TimesOfMoney had applied to the Reserve Bank Of India (RBI) for a prepaid payments license, following which it had received the license in April 2010, only to surrender it back in October 2010. TimesOfMoney had also launched an online wallet service called Wallet365 in 2006, which was stopped by the RBI, although it had been ready with mobile products, including a Wallet 365 mobile application, which used SMS as a bearer.

Network International

On the other hand, Network International provides credit and debit cards processing services, ATM sharing and ATM management and manages more than 700 services to more than 42 banks in West Asia and North Africa (Wana). It also offers EMV-certified solutions as institutions migrate to EMV Smart Card technology.

Among the company’s ventures include Diners Club Franchise which manages card issuing, acquiring and travel account management services; Sinnad, a joint venture between the company and Bahrain based company, BENEFIT (Bahrain Electronic Network for Financial Transactions) to offer end-to-end card hosting and payment solutions to the Bahraini and Saudi markets; and Transguard Cash (TG Cash), a joint venture between the company and Transguard Security, an Emirates Group Company which enabled both companies to offer advanced cash management services, including ATM Monitoring, Incident Management, Cash Forecasting and Transaction Switching to banks and retailers.

*Disclosure: Times Internet Ltd is an advertiser with MediaNama

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