In a sign of third-party payments market consolidation in India, the owner of TimesofMoney reportedly plans to sell one of the country’s most widely used remittance service providers to a multinational company.

Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd., promoter of the Times Group, is in talks to sell TimesofMoney to Network International LLC, a United Arab Emirates-based payment card company, according to a May 4 report in local pink sheet Mint.

The report, which cites as its sources two individuals close to the development, said sale discussions are in an advanced stage. PaymentsSource contacted the companies, and both declined to comment.

TimesofMoney is a payment-service provider that offers specialized services to nonresident Indians, including funds transfers, e-payments and cobranded debit cards.

Network International provides credit and debit card processing services, and ATM sharing and management services to more than 42 United Arab Emirates banks. It manages more than 700 ATMs. 

TimesofMoney hasn’t grown much in scale since its inception, and the company would benefit from the sale to a large payments multinational, Mrinalini Manral, a Mumbai-based banking analyst, tells PaymentsSource.

“Network would bring its expertise to TimesofMoney to really grow it, something that Times Group could not,” she says, pointing to the group’s core publishing business, which includes The Times of India, the world’s largest English daily.

Network International has a large presence in the Middle East, where there is a large Indian migrant population, Manral says. So there is a ready base of customers for Network to grow TimesofMoney, even if remittance is not its core business, she says.

With an estimated $US58 billion in remittance inflows in 2011, India is the world’s foremost remittance destination, according to the World Bank’s estimates.

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