Prosus says PayU will buy BillDesk for $4.7 billion

Global consumer internet group Prosus announced that PayU will buy Indian digital payments provider BillDesk for $4.7 billion.
digital payment and technology
The proposed acquisition will see PayU, the payments and fintech business of Prosus that operates in more than 20 high-growth markets, become one of the leading online payment providers globally by total payment volume (TPV).

Prosus, Europe’s answer to SoftBank and its Vision Fund, said BillDesk will complement its own PayU business, which operates in India, Latin America and Europe.

India has been a major focus for Netherlands-based Prosus but the BillDesk deal is its biggest investment there to date.

This is really a transformative transaction for PayU and its position as one of the leading payment and fintech providers in India and actually in the world, Prosus CEO Bob van Dijk said on a media call.

Prosus, which was spun out of Naspers of South Africa in 2019, owns stakes in consumer internet companies in online marketplaces, educational software, food delivery and fintech. It operates some of the companies.

Prosus is best known for its 28.9 percent stake in Tencent of China.

PayU processed $55 billion in payments in the year ended March 31, 2021, a 51 percent increase on the previous year.

The companies did not give a comparative figure for BillDesk. Prosus said it was more than $90 billion. BillDesk made a net profit of 2.71 billion Indian rupees ($37.05 million) for the year ended March 31 2021, suggesting an acquisition price of more than 100 times earnings.

PayU CEO Laurent le Moal defended the price tag, arguing it makes sense given the rapid growth in BillDesk’s market, its leadership position, its current profit margins and the potential for the combined companies to enter adjacent markets.

The deal to buy BillDesk, which was founded in 2000, is subject to regulatory approvals, including by the Competition Commission of India.

Prosus said Tuesday’s acquisition brings the total it had invested in the Indian market to more than $10 billion.

In India, Prosus is a major investor in Swiggy, one of two food delivery platforms fighting for dominance.