Axis Bank Ltd, India’s seventh-biggest lender by assets, said on Thursday it had agreed to buy mobile payments wallet provider FreeCharge from e-commerce company Snapdeal for Rs. 385 crores ($60.04 million).
As part of the agreement with Axis Bank about 200 employees of FreeCharge – which was acquired by Snapdeal in 2015 – will move to the bank, the lender’s finance chief Jairam Sridharan told a news conference.
A decision on either merging FreeCharge with its existing payment wallet or keeping it as a separate unit within the bank will be taken after discussions with the regulator, Axis Bank Chief Executive Officer Shikha Sharma said.
“It’s a strategic fit because serving the digital mediums of tomorrow is an important objective for us as a bank,” Sharma said.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to conclude by the end of September, the bank said in a filing.
Banks are also looking to grow their retail businesses faster as the corporate segment has been hit due to over-leverage among companies and a crackdown on defaulting borrowers.
Separately, Sharma, who media reports have said might be leaving the bank for another job after, said the lender had appointed a search firm to scout for her successor in the interests of good governance, but said that doesn’t “preclude anything” about her continuation or otherwise with the bank.