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CCI Clears Slice Merger with North East Small Finance Bank

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Competition Commission of India Approves Fintech Unicorn’s Amalgamation, Paving the Way for Enhanced Financial Services

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has given the green light to the merger between fintech unicorn slice and North East Small Finance Bank, according to an announcement made on Tuesday (March 12).

In its order, the CCI stated, “Competition Commission of India (CCI) approves the merger of a financial technology company, Garagepreneurs Internet Private Limited (GIPL) with the North East Small Finance Bank.”

The merger will encompass slice’s parent company GIPL, along with Quadrillion Finance, the NBFC arm of GIPL, and another subsidiary, Intergalactory Foundry Private Limited (IFPL). On the bank’s side, the proposed transaction will include RGVN (North-East) Microfinance Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Guwahati-headquartered bank.

Now, all regulatory hurdles have been cleared for Slice’s amalgamation with the small finance bank, pending the filing of the composite scheme of amalgamation before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and certain related transactions.

This approval follows the announcement of the merger by the fintech unicorn more than five months ago in October 2023. At the time, slice anticipated that the merger would facilitate the expansion of its offerings, enhance its underwriting tools, and streamline customer experience.

Earlier in March 2023, slice made a move towards this merger by acquiring a 5% stake in the Guwahati-based bank for $3.42 Mn (INR 28 Cr) after prolonged discussions.

Founded in 2016 by Rajan Bajaj, slice initially operated as a buy now pay later (BNPL) platform until FY22. However, regulatory constraints prompted the company to pivot its business model. Consequently, its parent company, GIPL, witnessed a 60% YoY surge in consolidated net loss to INR 405.8 Cr in FY23, while operating revenue soared 199% YoY to INR 846.7 Cr.

Ahead of the merger, the slice has been diligently preparing. In December last year, Satish Kumar Kalra, a former Andhra Bank executive, was appointed as the interim managing director (MD) and CEO of North East SFB. Additionally, the company secured an INR 75 Cr debt round from Stride Ventures and introduced a UPI-first prepaid account for all users in February this year.

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