Travel Tech

Paytm in talks to acquire online travel startup Via.com: Report

DELHI: Digital payments major Paytm has entered into discussions to acquire online travel company Via.com as it doubles down on its travel and hospitality business, taking on established firms such as the Nasdaq-listed MakeMyTrip and Yatra, reports The Economic Times.

Paytm, which raised $1.4 billion from SoftBank in May, has held preliminary discussions although a term-sheet is yet to be signed, according to four people aware of the developments.

Via.com could potentially be valued at up to $80 million for the sale, these people said, declining to be identified.

Paytm’s travel business crossed annualised gross merchandise volume (GMV), or gross sales, of $500 million in January, driven by bookings of two million tickets that month. The Noida-headquartered company, which also counts Chinese ecommerce behemoth Alibaba Group and affiliates as well as SAIF Partners among its backers, has projected annualised GMV of $2 billion for its travel business by March.

Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma did not reply to an email seeking details on the company’s proposed plans to acquire Via.com.Separately, a questionnaire sent to an email address listed on Via.com’s website, and addressed to its CEO Swaminathan Vedaranyam, did not receive a reply.

Bengaluru-based Via.com, which is backed by venture capital investors including IndoUS Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital, has raised about $15 million in funding. Founded in 2007, the company formerly known as FlightRaja has 100,000 active travel partners across 2,600 towns and cities, and covers more than 13,000 pin codes across Asia.

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