India's Paytm denies stake sale talks after reports on CEO meeting Adani

India's Paytm denies stake sale talks after reports on CEO meeting Adani

Vijay Shekhar Sharma Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg

Indian digital payments firm Paytm is not in talks to sell a stake, it said on Wednesday, after a media report said the company’s founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma was in discussions with billionaire Gautam Adani regarding such a deal.

Sharma, also Paytm’s CEO, had visited Adani, the chairman of ports-to-power conglomerate Adani Group, in his office on Tuesday to “finalise the contours of a deal”, the Times of India reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The discussions between Adani and Sharma have been going on for a while and Adani is also in talks with funds from West Asia to bring them as investors in Paytm, the report said.

“We hereby clarify that the abovementioned news item is speculative and the company is not engaged in any discussions in this regard,” Paytm said in a statement, without naming Adani.

The company, however, did not specify whether Sharma was having such discussions or not in his personal capacity.

Adani group, Gautam Adani and Paytm’s Sharma did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

Despite the company’s denial, Paytm’s shares jumped 5%, while those of Adani Enterprises, the flagship of the Adani Group, dipped 0.4%.

Sharma holds a 9.1% stake in Paytm in his personal capacity and another 10.3% through Resilient Asset Management, a foreign entity, as of end-March, exchange data showed.

Paytm has lost roughly half its market value in the past nearly four months since it shut its banking unit after falling foul of regulations.

Meanwhile, a media report recently said that the Adani group is looking to expand beyond infrastructure and allied sectors into more consumer-facing businesses.

If a deal with Paytm materialises, it would mark the Adani Group’s foray into India’s burgeoning digital payments market, which includes Google Pay and Walmart-backed PhonePe.


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