Wednesday, 18 October, 2017

SoftBank infuses $1.4 bn in Paytm

SoftBank infuses $1.4 bn in Paytm SoftBank infuses $1.4 bn in Paytm
Laurie Berry | 20 May, 2017, 03:26

A source familiar with the matter said SoftBank had bought US$1bil (RM4.32bil) of new shares in Paytm parent One97 Communications, equivalent to a 14.2% stake, and a further US$400mil (RM1.7bil) of existing shares.

The latest round of funding is not only the biggest ever for Paytm's parent One97 Communications but also matches the amount raised by Flipkart last month.

The company said that it would introduce the Paytm Payments Bank, a mobile-first product that will reach every corner of the nation, and focus on the millions of unserved and under-served Indians.

Paytm plans to invest about around Rs 10,000 crore over the next three to five years towards enabling half-a-billion Indians to join the mainstream economy.

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The investment comes at a time when SoftBank is working on a sale plan of e-commerce firm Snapdeal. These fundings will help Paytm expand fast it's soon to be launched payments bank operation. The deal involves $400 million worth of shares that Softbank will buy from Paytm's early investor SAIF Partners in a secondary transaction, and a minor stake from founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, an official close to the development informed. "We believe we have a great opportunity to bring financial inclusion to half a billion Indians,". There has also been a significant uptake in its movie ticketing, and travel booking (rail, bus and flight tickets) businesses.

In January 2014, it launched the Paytm Wallet, which has emerged as India's biggest digital wallet with over 220 million users and is accepted as the preferred mode of payment by over 5 million offline merchants across India. Even as SoftBank backs Paytm, the Masayoshi Son- led internet and telecoms conglomerate, which has ploughed around $2 billion in the country over the past few years across startups like Ola, Grofers and Oyo Rooms, is finalising a deal to sell its once-prized portfolio company e-commerce marketplace Snapdeal to Flipkart in a cut-price deal.

In August past year, Paytm raised a funding of $60m from MediaTek which took its valuation to about $5bn. The Alibaba group holds 40% in the company while Mediatek has about 1% with the rest being held by employees of the company. One of the biggest gainers of that demonetization was a start-up called Paytm, who via persistent advertising were already gaining popularity as a cashless app or mobile wallet in the Indian market.

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