Sachin Bansal sells Navi’s microfinancing unit for $178.5 million

Svatantra Microfin has reached an agreement to acquire Navi Group’s microfinancing unit Chaitanya India for about $178.5 million, the two firms said Tuesday, latest in a series of events at entrepreneur Sachin Bansal’s firm that has struggled to secure a banking license.

Svatantra said it will become the second largest microfinancing firm in India with a reach of over 3.6 million active customers across 20 states with the Chaitanya acquisition. The combined entity will have about $1.5 billion assets under management.

“This transaction is in line with our strategic plan to focus on our digital-first businesses, as we continue our digital-first financial services through the Navi Group,” said Bansal in a prepared statement.

The Reserve Bank of India rejected Chaitanya’s application for banking application last year, further complicating Navi Group’s plan for an IPO at a time when most firms were deferring plans to go public. Navi, which offers customers insurance and loan products, filed paperworks for a $440 million IPO last year.

Svatantra Microfin, founded by Indian billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla’s daughter Ananya Birla, provides microloans largely to women entrepreneurs in rural India.

More to follow.

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