In a bid to raise fresh funding of $1 billion, online payment services company Paytm is in talks with the US asset manager T Rowe Price. The deal will spur Vijay Shekhar Sharma-led Paytm to a valuation at $13-15 billion, reported The Economic Times. One of the people privy the development said, "T Rowe Price is in talks to invest around $150-200 million, with existing investors SoftBank and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba expected to infuse the rest of the capital. Some Saudi-based funds may also join in."
Notably, Paytm has been scouting for investors and shore up funds since the beginning of the year amid increasing loss and competition in the digital payments segment posed by Google Pay and Walmart-owned PhonePe. As per earlier plans, One97 Communication, Paytm's parent was targeting at least $ 2 billion but later the size of funding was slashed. A deal between Paytm and T Rowe Price would mean it will be one odd instance by latter to invest in a privately held Indian technology startup, after its investment in Flipkart. Interestingly, T Rowe Price manages over $ 1 trillion in assets, globally.
Japanese behemoth, SoftBank holds around 19 Percent stake in One97 Communications while another 38 percent has been held by Alibaba Group, through Ant Financial and directly. People know to development have argued that the latest round of funding may not significantly spur Paytm's valuation. As per some estimates, Paytm was valued at $16 billion in a secondary round earlier this year. The company witnessed last equity funding was in 2018 when Warren Buffett-owned Berkshire Hathaway infused $300 million, taking Paytm to a $10 billion valuation.
Rough patch for Paytm in the previous year
It has been a bumpy ride for Paytm amid widening losses during the last fiscal year with a marginal jump in revenue. Its parent, One97 Communications registered Rs.3,959.6 crore net loss for FY19 as against ₹1,490 crore vis-à-vis FY18. Moreover, its subsidiary Paytm Mall was audited by EY for a cashback scam forcing a number of top management executives quitting their position. In his latest interaction with media, Sharma insisted to cut the company's loss and turn it into a profitable entity. Further, Paytm is also planning to raise money through an Initial Public Offering (IPO).