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Darby Managed Franklin PE Fund Exits DailyHunt; Sells Stake To Chinese Bytedance For $19 Mn

Darby Managed Franklin PE Fund Exits DailyHunt; Sells Stake To Chinese Bytedance For $19 Mn

Franklin Templeton Private Equity Strategy, an investment fund managed by Darby has reportedly exited Bengaluru-based news and ebooks mobile app DailyHunt, owned by mobile Internet gateway Verse Innovation.

The development comes when the former had secured 3X returns, by selling its stake to Chinese content producer and aggregator, Bytedance, for $19 Mn, as per an ET report.

Earlier in October 2016, DailyHunt raised $25 Mn (INR 168 Cr) in a new round of funding led by China’s Bytedance. The round also saw participation from Arun Sarin, former global CEO of Vodafone Group, besides existing backers like Matrix Partners India, Sequoia Capital India, and Omidyar Network.

Launched in 2009 by former Nokia employees Umesh Kulkarni and Chandrashekhar Sohoni, NewsHunt was acquired by Verse in 2012. In August 2015 NewsHunt rebranded itself as DailyHunt. It has raised a series of investments from investors like Sequoia Capital India, Falcon Edge Capital, Matrix Partners, Omidyar Network, and Darby Overseas Investments.

According to a company statement, DailyHunt has an annual revenue rate of about $15 Mn (INR 100 Cr) and aims to capture 6%-7% of the $4 Bn digital advertising market in the next four years.

DailyHunt has a user base of over 120 Mn mobile app downloads and 28 Mn monthly active users reading 4.5 Bn pages. In the next four years, it expects monthly active users on the platform to increase to 150 Mn-200 Mn.

Bringing Bytedance on board is expected to help DailyHunt with the experience of how to expand the business. Both also count Sequoia Capital as a common investor.

Earlier in July 2016, DailyHunt picked up a minority stake in OneIndia, the local news language portal.

[This development was reported by ET.]