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Walmart-Backed PhonePe Buys Indian Wealth Management Firms

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(Bloomberg) -- PhonePe, an Indian payments company backed by Walmart Inc., will acquire two wealth management firms for a total enterprise value of $75 million.

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The firm will buy WealthDesk for about $50 million and OpenQ for nearly $25 million including debt, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified as the details are private.

A spokeswoman for PhonePe confirmed it was acquiring WealthDesk and OpenQ, and declined to discuss the financial details of the deals.

“The founder of WealthDesk and the entire team will be working as a part of the PhonePe group and both the platforms will remain independent,” PhonePe said in a statement. “Post acquisition, OpenQ will be instrumental in creating the wealth ecosystem for the PhonePe group.”

WealthDesk, founded in 2016 and headquartered in India’s financial capital of Mumbai, allows customers to invest in stocks and exchange traded funds. OpenQ also offers retail and institutional investors trading baskets and investment analytics services.

The acquisitions will help PhonePe, which is majority owned by the Walmart-backed Flipkart, widen its offerings in a lucrative payments market where tech giants including Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Amazon.com Inc. and SoftBank Group Corp.-backed Paytm compete.

Read More: Buffett, Goldman Win From Fintech Gold Rush in India

Amazon last year made its first investment in India’s wealth management space as it participated in a $40 million round by fintech startup Smallcase Technologies Pvt. Google has partnered with Indian banks to grant consumer loans online.

PhonePe, founded in 2015 and led by Sameer Nigam, was partially spun off from Flipkart in 2020. The e-commerce giant owns about an 87% stake in PhonePe, while Walmart directly owns about 10%.

Separately, Mathew Cyriac, who was previously one of Blackstone Inc.’s top dealmakers in India, exited his holdings in WealthDesk, according to people familiar with the matter. Cyriac, the founder of Florintree Advisors, invested in his personal capacity in the company in June last year.

(Updates with Cyriac investment exit in last paragraph and context throughout.)

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