India’s Paytm in talks with tech giant Microsoft to raise $100m: Report

Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Indian digital payments major Paytm is said to be in talks with the US technology giant Microsoft to raise $100 million in fresh financing.

The funding is likely to be an extension of the $1-billion financing round announced by One97 Communications, the parent of Paytm, in November last year, according to a report in The Economic Times. That round is being led by US-based global asset manager T Rowe Price, along with the participation of existing investors Ant Financial, SoftBank Vision Fund, and Discovery Capital.

“The talks with Microsoft began last year when Paytm was in the middle of raising funds. While Microsoft could not participate in the funding then, it is likely to pump in cash now,” the report said quoting a source. The deal, if goes through, will give Paytm access to Microsoft’s connectivity, computing, and storage solutions.

Meanwhile, the Series F round in November had valued Paytm at about $16 billion. Of the total $1 billion, however, Paytm has secured only about $720 million so far, the report said citing regulatory filings.

Alibaba’s affiliate Ant Financial, the largest investor in Paytm, will now have to seek approval for the proposed investment as India’s has decided to screen foreign direct investments from neighbouring countries, including China. The new rules are aimed at preventing opportunistic takeovers of Indian companies due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Alibaba Group, through Ant Financial and directly, owned 38 per cent of the company prior to the $1-billion funding round. Japanese conglomerate SoftBank owns just about 20 per cent in One97 Communications.

Paytm has been in the market since early 2019 to raise funds. The Vijay Shekhar Sharma-led company had raised $300 million from Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway in September 2018.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.