Paytm has held discussions with Alibaba-owned browser UCWeb for an acquisition of the latter’s India business, sources aware of the matter said. UCWeb’s UC Browser emerged as the largest mobile browser in India beating Google Chrome last year, and today accounts for more than 51% of the market here. The transaction could be valued at $400-$500 million, the sources said.
Over the past few weeks, top executives of the companies have met to discuss the acquisition. For Paytm, CFO Madhur Deora is leading the discussions. UCWeb, which has a monthly active user base of 130 million in India, had previously held talks with local smartphone makers here to buyout its local business, but those talks appear to have stalled.
SoftBank-backed Paytm sees an opportunity in using the browser to market its products and acquire a new set of users, especially first generation internet users in non-metro cities, a segment in which UC Browser is very strong. “A browser is a gateway for most new internet users and Paytm is looking to tap into that opportunity via UCWeb. All top internet companies are looking to tap into new users to expand the overall customer base,” said a person aware of the discussions. The country’s largest e-tailer, Flipkart, has under 15 million monthly active users, a fraction of the country’s population
Article Credit: Times of India