Google is in early talks to acquire Bengaluru-based startup ShareChat in a deal that could value the latter at around $1.03 billion.
ShareChat and Google have signed a non-binding proposal and appointed bankers to take negotiations forward, they said and added that Google has started conducting due diligence of the five-year-old regional language social media platform.
ShareChat’s founders may continue to maintain a small stake in their company even if the deal with Google goes through.
Having raised $40 million from investors in September to bring its total funding to $264 million, ShareChat was last valued at $650 million. More funds would be sought if the company expands to the Middle East market.
On the prospective deal with Google, according to the sources the time is good to sell as this is a money intensive business. Sources pointed out the costs involved in acquiring licenses for music and pay for influencers, besides the presence of many players in the segment.
ShareChat and Google refused to confirm the news.
For Google, this is in line with its pledge to invest $10 billion in India, and will provide it entry into the Indian social media space where ShareChat has been among the biggest gainers over the last six months since the ban of Chinese video-sharing app TikTok.
ShareChat’s active monthly users crossed the 160 million mark and it serves 15 Indian language markets. India is emerging as a huge internet market with close to 700 million internet users, making it a lucrative bet for Google.