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Paytm raises USA $1.4 billion from SoftBank

20 May 2017

Japanese conglomerate SoftBank has pumped in $1.4 billion (over Rs 9,079 crore) in Indian digital payments platform, Paytm, marking the largest fund infusion by a single investor in an Indian start-up.

"This investment by SoftBank and support of the incredible entrepreneur Masayoshi Son (SoftBank founder) is a great endorsement of our team's execution and vision", Paytm founder and chief executive Vijay Shekhar Sharma, said in a statement.

Sharma informed that with this one-time investment of $1.4 billion, SoftBank will hold a 20 percent direct stake in Paytm, along with a 12 percent indirect holding through its majority stake in Alibaba, the Chinese internet giant that has 40% stake in One97, Paytm's parent company.

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Paytm said it plans to invest about ₹10,000 crore over the next three-five years to bring in about half-a-billion people into the digital economy.

The publication further said that as per the deal, SoftBank will buy $400m worth of shares in Paytm from SAIF Partners, its early investor in a secondary transaction. That increased to $6bn in March 2016 when Alibaba Group and Ant Financial Services Group bought a combined stake of almost 4.3% from three Paytm investors Reliance Capital, SVB and SAP Ventures.

Analysts said SoftBank was seeking to emulate in India its strategy in China, where Alibaba runs its own digital payments provider Alipay.

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In addition to seeking to solidify its lead in digital payments, Paytm, founded in 2010, is aiming to launch a payments bank, an institution that can take deposits and remittances but cannot lend. There has also been a significant uptake in its movie ticketing, and travel booking (rail, bus and flight tickets) businesses.

Paytm, which has around 230 million wallet-users, plans to launch its payments bank on May 23, and will use the money to acquire new 500 million customers and launch a slew of financial service products such as wealth management, deposits, and money lending, among others.

"As part of the vision, the company will soon launch the Paytm Payments Bank, a mobile-first product that will reach every corner of the nation", it added. Prior to this round, the payments firm, which started life as mobile value added service delivery platform in 2000, raised $60 million from Taiwan's Mediatek at a $4.8 billion valuation in August a year ago. In January 2014, it launched the Paytm Wallet.

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Paytm raises USA $1.4 billion from SoftBank