Tiger Global in talks with Tencent, SoftBank to sell Policybazaar stake at $1.5b valuation

Photo: Reuters

Chinese internet giant Tencent and Japanese conglomerate SoftBank are in talks to acquire Tiger Global Management’s 21 per cent stake in Etechaces Marketing and Consulting, which owns and operates Policybazaar and Paisabazaar portals.

Tiger Global is seeking a valuation of $1.5 billion for the company, translating into over $300 million for its stake, according to a Times of India report.

The stake sale will mark a bumper exit for Tiger Global, which has invested about $50-60 million in the company to date. It first invested in the Gurugram-based company by infusing around $20 million, along with other investors, in 2014.

Etechaces Marketing and Consulting achieved a valuation of $1 billion in June last year when it announced a $200-million funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund. Its other backers include True North and PremjiInvest.

Tiger Global, which has been on an investment spree in India in recent months, booked a $3-billion gain by exiting its investment in e-commerce major Flipkart last year. The firm also made a partial exit from ride-hailing giant Ola earlier this year.

The Policybazaar stake sale report comes against the backdrop of an announcement by India’s finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman last week that the government will allow 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in insurance intermediaries. Till now, only 49 per cent FDI was allowed in the segment.

Founded in 2008, Policybazaar allows consumers to compare and purchase insurance policies online. It competes with Sequoia Capital-backed BankBazaar and Narayana Murthy’s Catamaran Ventures-backed Coverfox. It claims to account for nearly 25 per cent of India’s life insurance policies, and over 7 per cent of India’s retail health insurance business.

Tiger Global’s other investments in India include MogliLabs, which owns and operates B2B industrial goods marketplace Moglix; Bengaluru-based neo-banking startup Open; digital credit ledger startup OkCredit; online video platform The Viral Fever; agri-tech startup NinjaCart; and home rental startup NestAway Technologies.

In the first half of 2019, Tiger funded 13 Indian companies, compared with eight investments in 2018, said a recent Bloomberg report quoting research by Tracxn Technologies.