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Naspers eyes $1 bn fintech deals in India; seeks to replicate China success

Loni Prinsloo | Bloomberg/ 14 Mar 19 | 03:52 PM

Naspers Ltd. wants to spend about $1 billion in India this year as it scours the globe for investments that can replicate its blockbuster bet on China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd., a person familiar with the matter said.

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Africa’s largest company by market value is in talks to inject about $200 million into business loan provider Capital Float and payments security firm Wimbo as a first step, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions, who asked not to be identified as the talks are private.

A Naspers representative declined to comment. 

Cape Town-based investment group Naspers is the largest shareholder in gaming and social media giant Tencent and has around $9 billion in cash after trimming its stake last year and selling Indian e-commerce startup Flipkart to Walmart Inc.

Surging smartphone adoption has led to explosive growth in fintech and e-commerce in India and a host of local startups are vying with U.S. giants Amazon.com Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. for a slice of the action.

Some of Naspers’ biggest Indian investments have focused on food delivery. It took some of the proceeds from selling down its Tencent holding to lead a $1 billion funding round for Bangalore-based online food company Swiggy in December.

Part of this year’s $1 billion Indian investment drive could see Naspers increase its presence in food delivery, one of the people said.

Naspers shares have gained 13 per cent this year, valuing the company at 1.4 trillion rand ($97 billion). The group spun off Africa pay-TV provider MultiChoice Group Ltd. last month to focus on its internet and technology investments.

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Company Price Gain (%)
IndusInd Bank1,601.855.56
Yes Bank145.155.41
Larsen & Toubro1,518.103.94
St Bk of India352.503.42
ICICI Bank416.752.77

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