The biggest deal in the Indian internet startup scene is on the verge of completion. ibiboGroup, a joint venture between South Africa’s Naspers and Chinese Internet company Tencent has acquired a controlling stake in online bus ticketing firm RedBus, valuing it at about Rs.800 crores or $138 million.
Naspers arm MIH last year picked up a significant stake in online retailer Flipkart as well. This would probably be the first overseas strategic acquisition of an Indian internet asset at this scale.
MIH’s also holds local investments in travel portal Goibibo, Tradus, IbiboAds and online payment gateways like Payu.in and Payupaisa. Last year, the MIH group had acquired a 51% stake in Gurgaon based Tek Travels, a B2B travel portal called Travel boutique online. The consumer facing Redbus is likely to be a good fit.
As reported by NextBigWhat earlier today, redBus cofounder, Phanindra Sama updated his title on his Facebook profile to ‘Former Co-Founder/CEO’, further confirming this deal.
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Redbus was in the market to raise funds for over a year. Earlier reports had indicated that the company was looking to raise about $20 million from private equity players.
Redbus, founded in 2006 by BITS Pilani Alumni Phanindra Sama and Charan Padmaraju, after Sama struggled to fetch bus tickets from Bangalore to reach home for Diwali in 2006. It has quickly grew to become one of India’s largest ticketing companies.
Today, RedBus is India’s largest bus ticketing platform, issuing 10 million tickets with gross sales nearing $200 million annually.
In 2011, the company, had raised $6.5 million in a series C round from Helion Venture Partners, SeedFund and Inventus Capital Partners, who may exit fully or partly in the latest deal.
This deal, along with the recent JustDial IPO, will serve as boosters for the Indian tech startups as well as provide some much needed encouragement to the local venture capitalists who have been pumping in money in the past few years.