• Snapdeal parent Jasper Infotech, to continue high-octane acquisition strategy in new fiscal

    Jasper Infotech, which owns and operates India’s largest online marketplace Snapdeal.com, will continue its frantic pace of deal making in the new fiscal, as it continues building an entire web and mobile ecosystem of goods and services.

    The New Delhi-headquartered company, which announced five acquisitions in the financial year ended March 31, will continue to hunt for buyouts that will augment its two primary businesses – ecommerce and payments – as well as in the logistics space.

    “The pace will be similar… We look for amazing, stellar teams, and we invest a lot of time and energy in getting to know them before we do a transaction….We are investing behind technologies, which we do not have,” Kunal Bahl, chief executive of Jasper Infotech, told ET.

    Jasper Infotech has emerged as one of the most aggressive players in the Indian startup mergers and acquisitions landscape, compared to its peers, having announced about nine buyouts in 2015 calendar year, including its acquisition of digital payments platform Freecharge in April, for about $400-$450 million in a cash-and-stock deal, the largest in the Indian startup ecosystem till date.

    Additionally, it kicked off the new fiscal by announcing its acquisition of predictive marketing technology startup Targeting Mantra for an undisclosed sum in May.

    “India is the last large frontier for the internet and commerce globally. Our objective of acquiring them is for their fantastic team and certain tech capabilities, which can plug and play with us very, very well, especially in the area of personalization,” Bahl said.

    Bahl also told ET that the SoftBank, Foxconn and Alibaba Group-backed company has also received feelers from startups, based in geographies, such as the US, among others, for potential acquisitions, and the company is considering them.

    “A lot companies from the US have also approached us, which are working in areas of core tech, such as payments. They feel that the talent and the technology transcends geographical boundaries. Therefore, why not talk to a company like Snapdeal, which is on an upswing, and become partners with them?” said Bahl.

    While Bahl declined to provide further details, this would indicate that the company could acquire other ventures for Freecharge, which has now emerged as the focal point of its ecosystem.

    The company announced its acquisition of Silicon Valley-based Reduce Data, a programmatic display platform, in September last year.

    The Snapdeal co-founder, who along with childhood friend and IIT Delhi alum Rohit Bansal, formed the company in 2010, declined to however to provide the company’s capital expenditure outlay for the proposed acquisitions in the new fiscal.

    The announcements come about three months after the company closed a $200 million round of funding led by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund and Iron Pillar, a new technology-focused venture capital fund that advised a Singapore-based entity Brothers Fortune Apparel that represents several Chinese high net worth individuals.

    Prior to that, in August, the company had closed a $500 million round led by Foxconn, SoftBank and the Alibaba Group.

    However, it has been facing growing pressure from rivals, Flipkart and Amazon India. In its annual report, Japanese technology, media and telecom investor giant SoftBank, the largest stakeholder in Snapdeal, indicated that the online marketplace’s gross merchandise sales, which do not include discounts and returns, grew by 90% for the year ended March 31.

    This, however, implies a sharp slowdown in sales, given that the investor had said the company had recorded a 301% jump in gross sales for the 12 month period before that. Coty Sensabaugh Authentic Jersey

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