Amazon has reportedly made a bid to acquire digital payment startup FreeCharge for $50 million to $80 million. The firm is under the control of Snapdeal. A person with direct information on the news told the media about Amazon’s interest in FreeCharge.
The negotiations are private and the person doesn’t want his name to go public. However, Sanpdeal’s parent firm Jasper Infotech Pvt is in talks with several other investors and firms for the sale of FreeCharge. Some of them are Axis Bank Ltd. and Paytm owned One97 Communications.
Amazon is looking to forge together a formidable online payment presence in India. It is in direct competition with the likes of Paytm and Tiger Global backed Flipkart Online Services Pvt. The US company has completed its five year run in the country. India is poised for a brilliant future in e-commerce as the penetration of internet increases at an exponential rate. Amazon’s future depends largely on the Indian e-commerce market.
In April 2017 Amazon received its license from Reserve Bank of India to operate the digital wallet. However, its presence is still in a nascent stage in this field. Therefore, its acquisition of FreeCharge would help it go a long way. It will help it to develop and spread its customer base from both point-of-sales and other users. In line with these developments, Amazon hired former Citibank executive Sriram Jagannathan to head its online payments division in India. Moreover, it also invested $20 million in this field of business. These steps tell the world of Amazon’s interest in FreeCharge.
Amazon has, however, refrained from making a comment on this issue. It said it does not reply to rumours and speculations. Earlier Economic Times did cover the story on Amazon’s interest in Freecharge. Further, the other firms who are likely to bid on FreeCharge have also refrained from commenting on this issue.
All this is happening when the Flipkart-Sanpdeal saga needs to unfold and come to a conclusion. Whether FreeCharge remains an independent firm or merges with Amazon remains a mystery.