Warren Buffett, founder & chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, is reportedly in talks to pick up small stake in Paytm’s parent company One97 Communications Ltd. According to sources privy to the matter, India’s largest digital payment has been holding talks with the famous American billionaire since February this year.
Sources are claiming that Paytm aims to raise nearly $300-350 million (Rs 2,200- 2,500) from Mr. Buffett. The funds are most likely to be raised at a market valuation of almost $10 – $12 bn, sources add.
Berkshire Hathaway and Paytm have so far refused to comment on the report. E-mails sent by prominent media houses to both these companies did not elicit any response.
If the deal does go through, it will mark Berkshire Hathaway’s first investment in the Indian company. It will also mark Buffett and Hathaway’s first investment in India’s buzzing startup ecosystem.
Buffett, who is widely hailed as the world’s most prolific investor, had collaborated with Indian insurance firm Bajaj Allianz in 2011 to sell insurance in India. However, Berkshire exited the collaboration barely two years later. The company cited regulatory issues for the early exit.
Meanwhile, Paytm has been on a roll on all fronts. While the company is going full throttle to raise more funds, it is also aggressively pursuing business ad market expansion. The Noida based startup recently entered Japanese market to offer payment services and has already invested heavily in e-commerce and the newly launched wealth management business.
The company is already backed by several high profile investors including China’s Alibaba Group & Japan’s SoftBank.
Founded way back in 2000 by Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the company has come a long way; from being a humble company that offered mobile payments and mobile recharge to a company that is currently ranked as among India’s topmost internet consumer company.