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Paytm close to score $2 billion funds from SoftBank, Ant; valuation to soar to $16 billion
Posted on 15th October 2019
Paytm is close to scoring $2 billion of new financing from investors including Jack Ma’s Ant Financial and SoftBank Group Corp., a person familiar with the matter said, describing a mega-deal that will raise the temperature in India’s increasingly heated financial payments arena. Rob Citrone’s Discovery Capital Management is also in discussions to join a funding round that values the country’s top online financial services firm at $16 billion, the person said, asking not to be identified talking about a private deal. The funding will be split evenly between equity and debt and is aimed at helping Paytm fend off an influx of rivals, the person said. Talks are in their final stages but the terms could still change, the person added.

If a deal is finalized, Paytm could outstrip fellow high-profile Asian startups such as Grab and Gojek in valuation. Billionaire Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma is raising capital to protect the startup’s share of a potentially $1 trillion Indian payments market from newer entrants Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Walmart Inc.-owned Flipkart’s PhonePe. Over the past year, a string of new apps have made payments increasingly easy, bringing discounts and cash bonuses to young, smartphone-savvy users.

Paytm remains the leader for now. The firm has in a decade become India’s biggest digital payments brand, attracting big names in investing from Alibaba co-founder Ma and SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son to Warren Buffett. Sharma got a huge boost in 2016 after India’s government moved to eliminate most of the nation’s paper money in circulation in a bid to curb corruption. His startup, a pioneer in the country’s nascent field, saw tens of millions of consumers and hundreds of thousands of businesses sign up for digital services in a matter of months.

“India is a large market,” said Kunal Pande, head of financial services risk consulting at KPMG. “Digital payments adoption is growing quickly, yet there is room for massive growth as users get comfortable transacting digitally. The large business opportunity makes it attractive for both domestic startups and large global players.”

Paytm, which is also backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., declined to comment in response to emailed questions. Ant had no immediate comment when contacted, while Discovery Capital and SoftBank declined to comment.

Sharma is now extending his online empire into e-commerce and banking, even as others encroach on his turf. The Indian payments market remains a chaotic field where the rules are hazy on what players can offer, yet its promise has lured a string of competitors including Indian banks, its postal service and its richest man, Mukesh Ambani.

Credit Suisse Group AG now estimates that the Indian digital payments market will touch $1 trillion by 2023 from about $200 billion currently. It’s a market with huge potential: Cash still accounts for 70% of all Indian transactions by value, according to Credit Suisse, and neighboring China is far more advanced with a mobile payments market worth more than $5 trillion.

Ant Financial, China’s largest provider of internet financial services and one of Paytm’s earliest backers, has said it will continue investing in mobile-payment providers around the world to boost offshore revenue and buttress itself against rising competition and tighter regulation at home.

It’s not clear how much SoftBank would contribute, but the Japanese company is going through a rocky stretch. SoftBank’s shares are down about 30% from their peak this year as investors, unnerved by the WeWork turmoil and Uber Technologies Inc.’s disappointing debut, grow skittish about startup valuations.

Related Companies: Paytm   

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Apple to open its first retail store in India in 2021, says Tim Cook
Posted on 27th February 2020

Bullish on its growth in India, Apple is set to open its first branded retail store in the country in 2021, company CEO Tim Cook has told shareholders.

Speaking to investors at the annual shareholder meeting at Apple Park in Cupertino, California on Wednesday, Cook confirmed the company will open its first offline retail outlet in the world's second biggest smartphone market next year, reports Apple Insider.


Axis Bank appoints Puneet Sharma as CFO, to take charge from March 6
Posted on 27th February 2020

Axis Bank on Thursday said its board has approved appointment of Puneet Sharma as Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

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AGR dues: Voda Idea seeks relief; asks DoT for Rs 8,000 crore GST refund
Posted on 27th February 2020
Financially stressed telecom operator Vodafone Idea, in a letter to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), has sought the adjustment of goods and services tax (GST) refund to the tune of Rs 8,000 crore against its dues linked to adjusted gross revenue (AGR), an official told Business Standard on Wednesday. Even as the letter listed a number of demands, including a moratorium of three years and a 15-year staggered payment of the AGR-linked dues besides asking the government to set off its GST credit, the company’s chief executive officer, Ravinder Takkar, called on DoT Secretary Anshu Prakash again — making it his third visit in a week.

Cipla down 8% in 5 days, nears 52-week low on warning letter for Goa plant
Posted on 27th February 2020

Shares of Cipla were trading lower for the fifth straight day, down 3 per cent at Rs 409 on the BSE on Thursday. The company on Wednesday said it received a warning letter from United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) for its Goa manufacturing facility.

The stock of the pharmaceutical company was trading close to its 52-week low of Rs 390 touched on October 11, 2019. In the past five trading days, Cipla slipped 8.5 per cent, as compared to a 4 per cent decline in the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex and 3 per cent fall in the S&P BSE Healthcare index.


Priyanka Gandhi attacks govt over transfer of Delhi HC judge Muralidhar
Posted on 27th February 2020

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday attacked the government over the transfer of Delhi High Court Judge S Muralidhar, saying the Centre's attempts to muzzle justice and break people's faith in an upright judiciary are deplorable.

Delhi HC Judge S Muralidhar was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, days after the Supreme Court collegium made the recommendation.


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