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Billionaires Bezos, Murthy to End Controversial India Venture

N.R. Narayana Murthy and Jeff Bezos
N.R. Narayana Murthy and Jeff BezosSource: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg Inc. is disbanding a controversial joint venture in India with billionaire Narayana Murthy, a potential setback for the e-commerce giant as the country’s online market is projected to surge to $1 trillion.

The seven-year-old joint venture, called Prione Business Services Pvt., will cease operating from mid-2022, the companies announced on Monday. The business, which began by helping merchants get online to sell their wares before becoming a dominant vendor itself, is owned by Jeff Bezos’s Seattle-based behemoth and Catamaran Ventures LLP, the private investment firm of Infosys Ltd. co-founder Murthy.

The partners have “mutually decided to not continue their joint venture beyond the end of its current term,” they said in a statement. The JV has enabled over 300,000 sellers and entrepreneurs to go online and enabled 4 million merchants with digital payment capabilities, they said.