BharatPe buys multi-brand loyalty programme PAYBACK India in first acquisition
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BharatPe said it has acquired multi-brand loyalty programme PAYBACK India from American Express and ICICI Investments Strategic Fund, in the first acquisition for the payments and financial services startup. 

The acquisition is in line with BharatPe's strategy to build a network of over 20 million small merchants by 2023. BharatPe did not disclose financial details of the transaction.

As part of the transaction, Suhail Sameer and Gautam Kaushik, group presidents, and Sumeet Singh, general counsel, BharatPe, have joined the board of PAYBACK India. 

PAYBACK India, which was launched in 2010, will continue to function under its current name. Its employees will be a part of BharatPe group. PAYBACK India has a network of more than 100 offline and online partners. The company allows its customers to earn and redeem points on every transaction at its partner merchant outlets. 

Ashneer Grover, co-founder and chief executive of BharatPe, said that with this acquisition the startup will be able to add a whole new dimension to its merchant value proposition. 

"We are very selective about strategic partnerships & acquisitions, and believe this is a win-win to meet the brand promises of both BharatPe and PAYBACK India," he added. 

BharatPe, operated by Resilient Innovations Pvt Ltd, was set up in 2018 by Grover and Shashvat Nakrani. The company allows its customers to track payments in real time. It has also branched into financial services and says it has already facilitated disbursals of over Rs 1,600 crore to more than 2 lakh merchants since the launch of the lending vertical.  

Last month, BharatPe raised Rs 50 crore ($7 million) from digital debt financing platform Northern Arc Capital. This financing was the sixth debt fundraise for BharatPe this year.  

Earlier this year, it raised Rs 50 crore (around $7 million) in venture debt from Trifecta Capital, Rs 90 crore (around $12.3 million) from Alteria Capital, and Rs 60 crore (around $8.2 million) from InnoVen Capital. It also raised Rs 49 crore from ICICI Bank as well as debt from Axis Bank.  

BharatPe also got $108 million (around Rs 785.72 crore) in a Series D funding round led by existing investor Coatue Management in February this year.  

The Series D funding also had a secondary component that delivered exits for angel investors and employees.

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