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T Rowe Price joins SoftBank, Ant Financial in Paytm funding round

T Rowe Price joins SoftBank, Ant Financial in Paytm funding round
Photo Credit: VCCircle
25 Nov, 2019

Paytm, the digital payments platform owned by One97 Communications, raised a fresh round of capital from existing and new investors, including US-based asset management firm T Rowe Price. The Delhi-headquartered company did not disclose the quantum of capital raised.

Returning investors in the round included Alibaba Group affiliate Ant Financial, SoftBank Vision Fund and Discovery Capital.

Multiple media reports put the size of the transaction at $1 billion. The Economic Times, citing One97 CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma, reported that the round was led by T Rowe Price and valued One97 Communications at $16 billion. SoftBank invested $200 million and Ant Financial contributed $400 million, Shekhar told the publication.

Email queries from TechCircle didn’t elicit responses at the time of publishing this report.

Paytm will use the latest tranche of capital to grow its payments and financial services business. About $1.4 billion will be invested over the next three years towards fostering financial inclusion, the company said in a statement.

“At Paytm, we are committed to bringing half a billion Indians to the mainstream economy by onboarding them in the formal financial ecosystem. This new investment by our current and new investors is a reaffirmation of our commitment to serve Indians with new age financial services,” Sharma said in the statement.

The company claims to serve merchants in more than 2,000 towns across 650 districts.

Paytm last raised capital in August last year when Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway invested an undisclosed sum in the company. Media reports at the time put the size of the transaction at $300-350 million and the company’s post-money valuation at over $10 billion.

In its annual report for the financial year 2018-2019, One97 Communication reported an increase in standalone net losses to Rs 3959.64 crore against Rs 1,490.47 crore in the previous year. The ecommerce arm, Paytm Mall, also changed its strategy to shut down cost intensive business verticals including warehousing to reduce losses. The ecommerce business raised $160 million from Nasdaq-listed ecomemrce firm eBay in July at a valuation of close to $3 billion. The company has also made forays into the adtech business through key appointments, and into gaming through Paytm First Games in search of additional sources of revenue.