Franklin PE arm sells Dailyhunt stake to China's Bytedance for $19.2 mn

Franklin PE arm sells Dailyhunt stake to China's Bytedance for $19.2 mn

DailyhuntFranklin Templeton Private Equity Strategy has exited vernacular news aggregator Dailyhunt, selling its stake to existing investor Bytedance of China, a financial daily reported on Wednesday.

Franklin Templeton PE sold its stake in Ver Se' Innovation Pvt. Ltd, which runs Dailyhunt, for around Rs 130 crore ($19.2 million), a report in The Economic Times said.

Franklin had invested $10.34 million in the company in September 2011, and an undisclosed amount, along with other investors, in October last year, data from VCCEdge, the data research arm of News Corp VCCircle, show.

The report also mentioned, citing filings with the Registrar of Corporate Affairs, that the transaction valued the company at Rs 2,100 crore ($310 million), a premium over the Rs 1,700-1,800 crore ($251-266 million) it was valued at in the previous funding round.

Emails sent to Dailyhunt and Franklin Templeton PE Strategy didn't elicit a response at the time of writing this report.

Dailyhunt had raised Rs 168 crore ($25 million) in Series D funding from Chinese content provider ByteDance in October last year. Arun Sarin, former CEO of Vodafone, and existing investors—Matrix Partners, Sequoia Capital India, Omidyar Network, Falcon Edge and Franklin Templeton PE—also participated in the round.

It had raised Rs 250 crore ($36 million) in Series C funding in February, led by New York-based hedge fund Falcon Edge Capital. In September 2014, it raised Rs 110 crore in Series B funding from Sequoia Capital, Omidyar Network and Matrix India Partners.

Dailyhunt was launched as Newshunt by former Nokia executives Umesh Kulkarni and Chandrashekhar Sohoni in 2009 and sold to Ver Se' Innovation in 2012. It was rebranded as Dailyhunt in August 2015.

Dailyhunt forayed into the e-books space in 2014, and it is currently working with around 150 regional and global language book publishers. In 2015, Ver Se' acquired Delhi-based Rocket Science Innovations Pvt. Ltd, which runs e-commerce price comparison and recommendation platform, for an undisclosed amount.

Last year, Dailyhunt invested $2.2 million (Rs 15 crore) in OneIndia, a local language content provider.

Beijing-based ByteDance operates content recommendation platforms—Toutiao in China and TopBuzz in the US and Brazil. It is backed by DST Global and Chinese firm Sina Weibo.

Deals in the space  

Inshorts (earlier called News In Shorts), which aggregates news, videos, infographics and blogs, had raised Rs 25 crore ($4 million) in Series A funding from Tiger Global and Japan's Rebright Partners in 2015. The company has raised a total of $24 million so far.

In January 2016, Times Internet Ltd, the digital arm of Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd (BCCL), acquired Gurgaon-based Viral Shots for an undisclosed amount.

Civilsdaily, an online startup that aggregates news relevant for civil services aspirants, had raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from Malgharia Advisors' co-founder Manoj Kumar and other individuals in March 2016.

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