The ValueFirst – Way2Online Dispute Gets Settled; Way2SMS Is Back With Its Original Promoters

There has been quite a bit of drama over Valuefirst’s acquisition of Way2Online, the company behind Way2SMS, the popular free SMS service. We had reported about the acquisition in May last year. Valuefirst has made a string of acquisitions over the years and has positioned itself as Digital Media company as opposed to enterprise messaging which the company was initially into.

Way2SMS had acquired its main competitor, rival SMS service 160by2 in January last year thus making it a huge player in the free SMS space. Valuefirst’s intention for buying Way2Online must have been the number of users that the combination of Way2SMS and 160by2  would bring them. Everything seemed to be going well until September last year when ValueFirst lodged an FIR against its former CEO Kumar Apoorva. The report alleged that Kumar Apoorva had benefited personally from the acquisition of Way2Online by convincing ValueFirst’s board to acquire the company. Valuefirst said that he had received Rs. 7 crores from Way2Online’s directors Raju Vanapala and his brother Sasendra Kumar Vanapala.

Now, we have gotten some documents in our possession from sources (who wish to be anonymous) which would give our readers some insight into the whole thing. The first document is an FIR/complaint registered against ValueFirst by Raju Vanapala which accuses Vishwadeep Bajaj, Gagan Chadha and 2 others from Valuefirst of acting in bad faith during the process of the acquisition. The acquisition amount that was agreed upon by both companies was around Rs.149 crores as per the FIR. The initial amount to be paid was Rs. 20 crores whereas the rest of the money was supposed to be paid in tranches. The report then says that ValueFirst delayed the next round of payments to Raju and Sasendra and ultimately threatened them with legal action. You can view the FIR filed by Raju at a Hyderabad police station here. Raju then got a Delhi High Court order which directed Valuefirst to stay the appropriation maintain status quo with respect to Way2Online till a decision was reached. The court order is available for viewing here.

Update: The Delhi High Court Case has been withdrawn by Way2Online after the settlement of the case. You can view last court order here. 

Now, it seems that both Valuefirst and Way2online have settled their differences out of court and Raju Vanapala and Sasendra Venupala are in complete control of Way2Online. The acquisition is thus null and void. Here is a screenshot which says as much.


We reached out to both Way2Online and Valuefirst to confirm this development. We have gotten a reply from Vishwadeep Bajaj, Founder and Chairman of Valuefirst.

“ValueFirst has set its vision firmly on becoming the most preferred digital media company in India. To this end, we continue to invest in organic digital assets and are constantly evaluating acquisitions as well. In this direction we recently launched, fullonbids.com, India’s first free reverse bidding site. Also planned in the same line is one more acquisition due for completion in the coming weeks. 

We confirm that we have reversed the way2sms.com deal by mutual consent of both the parties – we have got our money back and have returned the way2sms shares.

We are a very high growth company and we prefer acquisitions that have close alignment to our strategy and we will continue to be on the lookout for such opportunities .”

We have yet to receive a reply or confirmation from Way2Online. Medianama has also confirmed this news.

There are 2 separate reasons being given by both the companies as to why the acquisition failed and both the companies have alleged bad faith against each other. We don’t know which scenario is true and we can’t confirm our suspicions since the settlement was reached out of court.

If you have any insights into the matter, you can share your views in the comments. Please refrain from any untoward allegations.

No comments yet.

Leave a Comment


four × = 24