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ItzCash parent Ebix acquires Paul Merchants’ remittance biz

US-based software services firm Ebix Inc. has agreed to acquire BSE-listed Paul Merchants Ltd’s international remittance business for Rs 262.77 crore ($40.7 million), marking its third acquisition within a month in the Indian remittance space.

“Paul Merchants is the largest international remittance player in India with a market share of almost 35% of Western Union’s remittance inflows,” Ebix said in a statement.

Ebix will make the acquisition through YouFirst Money Express Pvt. Ltd, which it agreed to purchase last month. As part of the deal, Paul Merchants will acquire a 10% stake in YouFirst for Rs 31.73 crore, according to a stock-exchange filing.

Also last month, Ebix had decided to buy BSE-listed Wall Street Finance Ltd’s remittance operations for $7.4 million.

“Three acquisitions in this space in the last two months give Ebix in international remittances in India a 60% market share and leadership position,” the statement added.

The development comes barely four months after Ebix had acquired Essel Group’s fintech arm, ItzCash Card Ltd, for $120 million.

ItzCash’s Bhavik Vasa and Ravi Singh have been leading Ebix’s expansion strategy in India. Singh, who is the chief business officer at ItzCash, is leading Ebix’s expansion in the money transfer business.

In June, ItzCash had told VCCircle that after the Ebix deal, it was “looking at inorganic opportunities to grow its business and planning to foray into SME lending and international remittances through acquisitions”.

In fact, Ebix had recently said that it had set aside $100 million for investments and acquisitions in the country. “Ebix has set up an aggressive growth path both in terms of revenues and operating income. We are accordingly committing a $100-million fund and will not shy away from scaling this investment upwards sizeably,” said Robin Raina, chairman and CEO, Ebix.

Through ItzCash, Ebix aims to carry out a number of strategic acquisitions in the fin-tech space, ItzCash chief growth officer Vasa told VCCircle. Besides, the firm is also in discussions with a few peers and counterparts, mostly in the lending and travel sectors. “We hope to close some deals in the coming quarters,” Vasa added.

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