Vijay Shekhar Sharma sells 1% in One97 to raise $48.1 mn for payments bank


Paytm's founder and chief executive Vijay Shekhar Sharma has sold 1% of his holding in the digital wallet's parent firm One97 Communications Ltd, to raise nearly $48.1 million (Rs 325 crore). With the latest transaction, One97's valuation reportedly stands at $4.8 billion (Rs 32,438.4 crore).

The money will be used to fund the group's proposed payments bank which is christened as Paytm Payments Bank Ltd.


The transaction was completed last week, The Times of India reported, quoting Sharma, who did not give the shareholder's name.

As on 31 March 2016, Sharma had a 21.33% stake in One97 Communications.

An email query sent to Sharma did not elicit any response at the time of publishing this report.


Sharma, in an event last month, said Paytm is raising more funds. In fact, several media reports said Paytm was raising as much $350 million (Rs 2,350 crore) in a fresh round of funding, of which it has already received a commitment for $60 million (Rs 403 crore) from Taiwanese chipmaker MediaTek Inc.'s investment arm Mountain Capital.

On December 5, One97 Communications, in a blog post, said it will merge its wallet business with its upcoming payments bank to comply with Reserve Bank of India (RBI)'s directions. The digital wallet will be transferred after the company gets necessary regulatory approval to start its payments bank.

Sharma will hold a majority share—i.e. 51%—in Paytm Payments Bank as the bank licence was issued in his name. One97 Communications will hold the remaining stake. A spokeswoman for the company told Techcircle the payments bank will not have any external shareholders.


In August, the Noida-based company created two separate entities—Paytm E-Commerce Pvt. Ltd and Paytm Payments Bank Ltd—to run its e-commerce and banking services, respectively. The e-commerce marketplace is likely to serve as an entry pad for Chinese online retail giant Alibaba, which is the largest shareholder in One97 Communications.

Techcircle first reported in August that Alibaba's stake in One97 Communications will be transferred to the e-commerce business, and that Sharma will hold a majority stake in the payments business. NYSE-listed Alibaba Group Holding, along with its financial-services arm Ant Financial, has invested a total of $680 million in One97 Communications to hold a stake of close to 41%.

Paytm, which posted a net loss of Rs 1,548 crore in the financial year ended 31 March 2016 on revenues of Rs 830 crore, expects its payments bank to make money in two years' time.


Sharma was one of 11 applicants who got the RBI's in-principle approval last year to get a payments bank licence. Telecom operator Bharti Airtel Ltd recently launched its payments bank, the first firm to do so.

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