India’s Snapdeal Buys FreeCharge Mobile Payments Platform

India’s online retailer Snapdeal, has bought mobile-payments platform FreeCharge in a deal it hailed as “one of the biggest acquisitions in the history of the internet industry in India”.

Although the price paid for the acquisition was not disclosed, reports suggest the figure was probably at least US$400m. Snapdeal did announce that the deal would make it “the largest mobile commerce company in India” and expand its user base to more than 40m.

Snapdeal is competing with local rival Flipkart and US giant Amazon to become India’s leading electronic commerce (e-commerce) platform and raised US$627m for this purpose last October from SoftBank of Japan.

Kunal Bahl, Snapdeal’s co-founder, said his company would now offer a range of services beyond traditional retail ecommerce, including services from FreeCharge, which lets users pay utility and other bills through their mobiles. “The age of monolithic ecommerce platforms is over,” he added.

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