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Flipkart to partially hive-off PhonePe

E-commerce platform Flipkart will partially hive-off PhonePe which will allow the digital lending platform to gain access to long-term capital, the two companies said in a joint statement. The development was first reported by Economic Times.

“Recognizing the momentum that has been achieved, as well as PhonePe’s significant growth potential, Flipkart’s Board determined that this was the right time to partially spin-off PhonePe so it can access dedicated capital to fund its long-term ambitions over the next three to four years,” the statement said. It added that PhonePe will now be able to constitute a new board of directors and create a tailor-made equity incentive or employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) program for its employees.

PhonePe is currently raising $750 million in equity capital, at a valuation of $5.5 billion, the statement said. Walmart is Flipkar’s largest shareholder, while the e-commerce player has a 80% stake in PhonePe. It will remain as PhonePe’s majority shareholder after the current fund raising round.

Sameer Nigam, founder and chief executive officer, PhonePe, said that the payments platform has over 250 million users and processed nearly 1 billion digital in October this year.

In an interview with MediaNama, last month, PhonePe’s head of payments, banking and financial services, Hemant Gala said that the company plans to double its merchant base to 25 million from 12 million at present on its payments network by next year.

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In August this year, Business Standard reported that the company is working on an initial public offering by 2023 pegging the valuation of the payments firm at US$7-10 billion.

In FY19, PhonePe reported a net loss of ₹1,907 crore, higher from ₹791 crore in the previous year, according to filings with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. It spent ₹1,296 crore on advertising and marketing expenses in FY19, compared to ₹602 crore in the previous year. The company’s revenues grew ₹184 crore in FY19 from ₹142.8 crore in the previous year. Filings for FY20 were not available.

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