Two announcements from Private Treaties, the investment arm of the Times Group. The first, it has acquired a minority stake (rumored to be in the 20-30% range) in social network Apnacircle.com. The venture funded by Sabeer Bhatia and headed by Yogesh Bansal doesn’t seemed to have evolved an inch since we covered it last. Apnacircle positions itself as an online social and professional networking site, the former part of which would be in direct competition with group company TIL’s recently launched iTimes.com.
The second piece comes via Alootechie, apparently Dekhona.com, which is in talks for hiving off 20-30 percent stake. Considering Indiatimes lacks a video thrust currently, maybe this Youtube clone could provide a ready-made back-end that could be repurposed. No word on the valuation of either of the above, but knowing how private treatises works, expect both sides to bloat numbers.
Nikhil adds: Dekhona is a Mouthshut.com group site, and MouthShut CEO Faisal Farooqui has declined to comment on the deal. Perhaps the establishment of YouTube in India has necessitated this step.
About Private Treaty deals: there have been reports in the recent past that the PT portfolio doesn’t look as great anymore, particularly since the market cap of many of the listed companies was down during the recent stock market downturn. Also take into account a situation where one of two competitors signs up for a private treaty deal; this gives it a significant marketing muscle, and the other can either also sign up for a PT deal (or raise funding), or spend money on marketing. Either way, BCCL benefits.