Home / Companies / People /  Paytm may raise $2 billion at a valuation of $15 billion

NEW DELHI : Financial services firm Paytm is set to raise $2 billion from a group of existing investors at a valuation of $15 billion, a person close to the development said on condition of anonymity.

“Paytm is raising $2 billion in funds at a pre-money valuation of $15 billion. The deal is close to being finalized," said the person mentioned above.

The identity of the investors could not be ascertained independently, but financial news service Bloomberg reported on Monday that the existing investors include Ant Financial and Japan’s SoftBank Group.

A spokesperson for Paytm declined to comment on the development.

The valuation of $15 billion is the same as when some of Paytm’s employees had sold their shares to investors earlier this year. In August, Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma said the company’s employees sold employee stock ownership plans worth $150 million at a valuation of $15 billion.

Paytm was valued at $12 billion last year when Warren Buffett-controlled Berkshire Hathaway Inc. invested an undisclosed sum in the company. Although One97 Communications Ltd, the owner of Paytm, had not disclosed details of the deal, regulatory documents sourced from showed Berkshire had invested $300 million.

The $2 billion that Paytm is set to raise is likely to help it fend off rivals across various segments of its business. The financial services firm is facing stiff competition from Google Pay, Amazon Pay, BHIM, and others in its payments operations. It is behind Flipkart and Amazon in its e-commerce business housed under Paytm Mall.

The payments market is especially lucrative for the company. In India, digital payments have climbed more than five times since 2015 to 22.4 transactions per person in the year ended March, the Reserve Bank of India’s data shows.

The digital payments market is likely to expand to $1 trillion by 2023, according to a report by NITI Aayog last year.

Even the online retail business is expected to see rapid growth, with industry estimates pegging the size of the Indian e-commerce market at $200 billion by 2026, a sharp rise from $38.5 billion in 2017.

However, earlier on Monday, Sharma said that its Paytm Mall business has adequate capital. “We have money in the bank—around $260 million. We will invest about $250 million in the Paytm Mall business," Sharma said on the sidelines of the India Mobile Congress, which is being held in New Delhi.

At present, the company has no plan for an initial public offering and will only consider it after 2021 when it is expected to generate positive cash flow, Sharma said.

Like many startups, Paytm has been burning cash at a rapid pace as it seeks to strengthen its position in the financial services and e-commerce space.

Paytm’s losses for the fiscal 2018-19 nearly tripled to 4,217.20 crore from 1,604.34 crore in the year-ago period. However, the company has changed its strategy for discounts and cashback to reduce its cash burn. On Paytm Mall for example, the company is now pushing ecosystem offers instead of giving plain cashbacks.

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