After Little and Nearbuy, Paytm in talks to acquire travel portal
Photo Credit: Shah Junaid/VCCircle

Flush with funds from Japan’s SoftBank, digital wallet and e-commerce company Paytm is eyeing another acquisition. The payments firm has held preliminary talks to acquire online travel company, a report in a financial daily stated.

Paytm, which is run by One97 Communications Ltd, is looking to invest close to $80 million to acquire the Bengaluru-based travel portal, The Economic Times reported, citing four people aware of the development.

Paytm did not respond to an email query from VCCircle and could not be contacted immediately.

In March this year, the Alibaba-backed Paytm tied up with US-based online travel portal Priceline Group’s, to expand its travel business. The company then said it will invest Rs 300 crore to further grow this business and that it is also looking to ramp up its Bengaluru-based travel marketplace team to over 250 people in the next two quarters.

Paytm’s travel marketplace enables users to book hotels, flights, trains and bus tickets on a fast, secure and convenient platform. In January 2017, the Noida-headquartered company claimed to have crossed $500 million in annualised gross merchandise value., owned and operated by Flightraja Travels Pvt Ltd, was founded in 2007 by Vinay Gupta and Amit Aggarwal Gupta as an offline business-to-business travel site. It currently functions as a travel deals aggregator and ticket booking site. Its inventory includes ticketing in flights, hotels, holiday packages as well as car and bus services. The firm had raised $5 million from Indo US Venture Partners (now Kalaari Capital) in 2007 and followed it up with a $10 million round from Sequoia Capital in December 2009.

Following its $200 million funding from Alibaba and SAIF Partners into to its e-commerce arm in March this year and $1.4 billion from SoftBank in May this year, Paytm has been on a multi-pronged expansion drive. It has made a number of investments and acquisitions and effected key appointments, internal movements, and new business strategies.

Earlier this month, the company was in talks to acquire deal discovery app Little and online deals startup Nearbuy to strengthen its hyperlocal play.

In July, Paytm bought a majority stake in Mumbai-based curated events platform and, in April, it invested an undisclosed amount in Noida-based health-tech startup QorQL.

In September last year, the firm acqui-hired e-learning marketplace EduKart for an undisclosed amount, and in November 2016, it acquired online-to-offline shopping startup Shopsity.

In December 2015, it acquired Gurgaon-based services marketplace for $2 million.

In the following month, it bought Delhi-based consumer behaviour prediction platform Shifu for $8 million.

Paytm, which typically puts $5-7 million in startups, has backed about 25 emerging companies so far, its latest bet being mobile data analytics venture Mobiquest. Paytm’s other portfolio companies include bus ticketing platform AbhiBus, tax filing portal ClearTax, mobile data services firm LeapSky Wireless, logistics analytics startup LogiNext, career advice platform TapChief, tech firm RainingClouds, on-demand transport aggregator Jugnoo, and logistics firm Xpressbees.

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