Zomato Is In Talks To Acquire Paytm’s Movie Ticking Business For Rs. 1,500 Crore: Report

Paytm and Zomato have had contrasting fortunes at the public markets, but their paths are now converging in an unlikely way.

Zomato is in talks with Paytm to acquire its movie and events ticketing division, Bloomberg reports. The negotiations between the two companies are in advanced stages, but there are other buyers also interested in the business. A final decision hasn’t been taken yet, but the deal is estimated to be worth Rs. 1,500 crore.

Paytm had once been quite serious about its movie ticketing and events businesses. It had entered movie ticketing business with a bang in March 2016, and had offered attractive discounts and offers compared to the incumbent, BookMyShow. But even as Paytm ended up taking away some of BookMyShow’s customers — it reportedly had a 20% marketshare within a year of its launch — BookMyShow had remained unfazed, with CEO Ashish Hemrajani saying that he loved seeing the “competition” spend unintelligently. But Paytm’s entry had shown in BookMyShow’s results, with BookMyShow’s losses rising 139x in FY17 following Paytm’s entry into the movie ticketing business. But as Paytm’s other bets didn’t play out quite as expected — Paytm Mall, in particular, failed to hold its own against Amazon and Flipkart — it appeared to reduce its focus on the movie ticketing business. Today Paytm appears to have lost most of the ground it had made in the movie tickets space, and BookMyShow continues to corner a large part of the market.

Paytm had also looked to take on BookMyShow by acquiring a majority stake in Insider.in, which allowed users to buy tickets to live events in their cities. Insider.in had been launched by OML, and Paytm had paid around Rs. 35 crore for a majority stake in 2017. In this space, Paytm continues to sell tickets to events, but remains a distant second to BookMyShow.

It appears that being a distant second isn’t a priority any more for Paytm, has it has lurched from crisis to crisis in recent times. Paytm had the worst stock market listing of all time in 2021, and its problems were compounded earlier this year when the Reserve Bank put curbs on its Payments Bank for not following regulations, which essentially halted its operations. Paytm’s stock was again hammered as a result, and Paytm even saw its share in the payments space decline. Paytm now seems to want to get rid of non-core assets, and focus on its payments business.

But Paytm’s movie tickets and events business could fit in nicely with Zomato’s overall plans. Zomato has experimented with holding a live event of its own called Zomaland, and had recently tied up with PVR to deliver food to customers in movie halls. Zomato also provides offers on offline restaurants when bookings are made through its app. As such, movies and events are adjacent to its eating out business, and the company could look to utilize synergies amongst these verticals — it could, for instance, offer discounts if customers watch a particular movie and eat at a particular restaurant, or offer discounted food from restaurants at offline events. Zomato is also seeing its food delivery order volumes slow down, and would need to explore other alternatives to grow its topline. Paytm, meanwhile, could want to rationalize its operations to be able to be more lean and run more efficiently. The deal isn’t yet done, but Zomato’s acquiring of Paytm’s movie and events business could end up being a win-win for both companies.