Prosus cancels $4.7 billion deal to acquire Indian payments startup BillDesk
In August, we covered Prosus after the Amsterdam-based Prosus made its biggest-ever bet in the Indian tech space with a $4.7 billion acquisition of payments fintech startup BillDesk, making it one of the biggest players in the country’s fast-growing fintech sector.
Fast forward a month later, Prosus announced on Monday it has “terminated” the $4.7 billion deal, saying conditions of the deal had not been met. On September 5, the Indian antitrust regulator approved the buyout deal despite concerns that the merger of BillDesk with Prosus-owned PayU would lead to concentration on India’s payments market.
A spokesperson for Prosus told Reuters that there was no break fee associated with the deal, but refused to elaborate on the reasons for the cancellation.
“The consistent pushback from investors had been around the valuation and price being paid for BillDesk,” said Citi analysts in a note, Reuters reported. “With no further details … what we don’t know is whether Prosus’ PayU could make another offer for BillDesk at a lower price.”
Founded in 2000, BillDesk is an Indian success story and one of the leading payment businesses in the country. PayU currently processed $55 billion in payments as of the end of March 2021, a 51% increase from the previous year. India has been a major focus for Prosus but the BillDesk deal is its biggest investment there to date.
We wrote about Prosus back in April after the company had a windfall of $232 billion from its $32 million investment in Chinese gaming giant Tencent. Prosus, which was spun out of Naspers of South Africa in 2019, owns stakes in consumer internet companies in online marketplaces, fintech startups, educational software, and food delivery. Prosus also operates some of the companies it has stakes in.
Prosus’s parent company, Naspers Ltd., is Africa’s largest listed company and a global consumer internet group, and one of the largest technology investors in the world. In 2001, Naspers made an early, successful investment of US$32 million, for a 30.9% stake in Chinese gaming and social media giant Tencent before it went public.