Network International acquires majority stake in Indian remittance outfit TimesofMoney

Source: Network International

Network International, the leading independent payment solution provider in the Middle East & Africa, announced today that it has entered into a partnership agreement with Times Internet Limited to acquire a majority stake in TimesofMoney Ltd., an India-based leading global online remittance and digital payments company that facilitates cross-border remittances and domestic payments.

Up until now, TimesofMoney was owned 100 per cent by Times Internet Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. As per the terms of the partnership, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd will remain as a minority shareholder and continue to have representation on the board of TimesofMoney.

Network International's investment in TimesofMoney is predicated on the strong growth fundamentals of the money transfer sector in India, which is one of the highest remittance receiving countries in the world, estimated at US$64 billion annually, and that the value of the GCC-India remittance corridor is valued at approximately US$25 billion annually. Overall, the cross border remittance market is estimated at approximately US$415 billion globally.

TimesofMoney's flagship brand, Remit2India, is a pioneer in online remittances to India with over a decade of expertise in facilitating money transfers from non-resident Indians (NRIs) across the globe.

TimesofMoney is also a key player in the fledgling online remittance market to countries like Philippines, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh under its Remit2Home brand. Its other cross-border service includes Window2India, a value-added services portal for NRIs offering gifting, health-care, and property services, among others.

The acquisition enables Network International to open up a much needed online remittance service on the key GCC-India corridor, as well as to introduce a number of value-added remittances and retail-based services. This acquisition is seen as a major enabler of Network International's strategy to expand its product offering and geographic coverage, and provides the company with a very strong foothold in the global money transfer sector and in the payment services space in India.

Bhairav Trivedi, Chief Executive Officer of Network International, said: "Today's announcement is an important step in the execution of Network International's strategy to become the leading payments player in growth markets. The addition of TimesofMoney to Network International's payments platform marks the company's entry into an exciting product space, expands its market distribution channels across an enhanced geographic and customer base, and enables the combined entity to generate significant synergies across all product groups."

"This transaction further enables us to offer a comprehensive range of new remittance services in the Subcontinent, thereby meeting the growing needs of our customers who are looking to remit money abroad through an efficient, reliable and innovative platform. We look forward to establish our leadership position in the market and will continue to lead and innovate across all areas of our business," he added.

Network International's leadership position in the market was bolstered by Abraaj Capital's investment of a 49 per cent stake (US$ 545 million) in Network International in 2011, which has enabled the organisation to embark on an expansion program. Emirates NBD remains as a majority shareholder with 51 per cent ownership of the company.

Avijit Nanda, Chief Executive Officer of TimesofMoney said: "We are extremely excited by the endless opportunities this partnership promises. We are confident that our respective complementary strengths will not only allow us to reach new markets but will also help our existing retail and institutional customers with enhanced offerings. Our business has grown exponentially over the last five years, and we expect that with a global player like Network International coming in, this would help take us to the next level. The backing of the Times Group over the last 11 years has contributed significantly in establishing our business as a formidable digital payments company, and we will look forward to their active participation as we embark on this new journey with Network International."

TimesofMoney's value-added offering include a state-of-the-art white-label remittance platform to a host of banks, money transfer operators and telecom companies across the globe. As a strong payment services player in the Indian market, TimesofMoney's DirecPay service offers an integrated payment gateway platform to eCommerce merchants in the country.

FT Advisors Ltd., AZB & Partners, and Deloitte acted as advisors to Network International in the transaction. Nishith Desai Associates, UBS, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers acted as advisors to Times Internet Limited.

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