US ecommerce giant eBay is reportedly looking at making a strategic in the Indian online retail platform space. This time, the beneficiary of its investment could be Paytm Mall, with reports that eBay is looking at a strategic investment of $160-$170 million in Paytm Mall.
eBay already has a small 5% stake in Snapdeal. The company sold its 6.55% stake it held in Flipkart when the startup was taken over by Walmart last year. They pocketed a neat $1.1 billion in that share sale and the investment in Paytm Mall could possibly be out of these proceeds only, sources claim.
From Paytm’s perspective, this might work in two ways. One is its over dependence on Alibaba and SoftBank for additional funding could be avoided. Some of the foreign investors have been reported to be interfering in the management of the Indian startups irking the promoters. In addition, a strategic investor like eBay could bring much more than just funding to the table. Their experience in the field can be used to breathe fresh air into its venture struggling to take on the giants like Amazon and Flipkart. Reliance is also entering the fray making life difficult for everyone. The Board of Paytm has already accorded its approval to induct a strategic investor.
After eBay was disconnected from Flipkart, it has been operating an independent site in India. That operation would seemingly continue, regardless.
If this deal does go through and eBay takes a position on Paytm Mall, will there be increasing competition among the existing players all having the backing or direct involvement of US based giants, Walmart, Amazon and eBay? That could be a mouthwatering battle from every angle.