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Exclusive: Ashneer Grover demands Rs 4,000 crore to leave BharatPe

Alvarez & Marsal and PwC are conducting a governance audit of BharatPe, examining allegations of fraudulent and related party transactions

February 05, 2022 / 09:36 AM IST

BharatPe cofounder Ashneer Grover is demanding Rs 4,000 crore from investors to buy out his stake if they want him to exit the company, as he digs his heels in despite being accused of fraud, abrasive behaviour and corporate governance issues leading to an investigation.

While Grover denies all accusations, he will leave the company only if an investor buys out his 9.5% stake in the company at a valuation of $6 billion, he told Moneycontrol in an interview.

“What have I done to resign? This is like execution before trial. I am the MD (managing director).  I run the company. If the board thinks I don’t need to be the MD and someone else should run the company, please put my Rs 4,000 crore on the table and take the key away from me,” Grover said.

“If you want to buy me out you want to buy me out at the fair market value, right? In my view the fair market value is $6 billion. Either I’ll run the company or they buy me out, there is no third option,” he added.

BharatPe was last valued at $3 billion last year when it raised $370 million from Tiger Global, Coatue and others. “From May 2021, when the round was priced, my merchant business today is 50% higher. I have got a bank licence, which was not there then. I have built the largest P2P (peer-to-peer)  platform, 12% Club, which wasn’t there. I have built PostPe, a BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) play. We have also merged PMC (Bank) in addition to getting the licence. If I was running the business, I am extremely confident of doing a $6 billion valuation round,” Grover said.

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Board level relationships seem to have broken down at BharatPe, where its investors and CEO Suhail Sameer-led board have appointed Alvarez and Marsal and PwC for a forensic audit. Grover went on a temporary leave of absence a few weeks ago, saying he will be back before March 31, after scrutiny over a leaked audio clip where Grover allegedly abused a Kotak employee for not being able to invest in Nykaa’s IPO. Legal notices were exchanged between Grover and Kotak. 

Last week Moneycontrol reported that Grover’s wife Madhuri has also gone on a leave of absence, and that BharatPe’s board is looking into issues including invoices being over-inflated and some vendors being fake 

 
M. Sriram
Priyanka Sahay
first published: Feb 4, 2022 12:19 pm
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