An advertising balloon for PayTM online payment advertisment, operated by One97 Communications Ltd., is displayed at a a general store in Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Warren Buffett Prepares To Sign Into Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s Paytm

Legendary investor Warren Buffett is set to pick up a stake in One97 Communications Ltd., the parent of homegrown digital payments firm Paytm, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Vijay Shekhar Sharma-led Paytm has been in talks with Buffet for a few months now and the deal is likely to close shortly. One97 Communications will raise an amount of about $300-350 million dollars as part of the transaction, the person said.

The news was first reported by Mint newspaper today. According to the report, the deal has been struck at a valuation of $10-12 billion.

BloombergQuint has reached out to Paytm. This story will be updated with their response once available.

Started by Sharma in 2010, Paytm has become a leading digital payments and e-commerce firm in India. It recently got a payments bank licence and has started operations. Its key investors include Softbank, SAIF Partners, Alibaba Group and Ant Financial. Recently Paytm has innovated with selling investment products like gold and mutual funds through their network.

The deal, if concluded, will be the first transaction by Warren Buffett in the Indian start-up universe.

Also read: Davos WEF 2018: Paytm To Sell Loans, Insurance As It Builds Three-Stack Model, Says Vijay Shekhar Sharma

Expanding Footprints

One97, which was last valued at $7 billion, according to Bloomberg after it raised $1.4 billion from SoftBank Group Corp in May, started as a mobile payments and recharge business in 2010. The company has since then created a host of payment solutions such as Paytm’s digital wallet and Paytm Payments Bank, and is now looking to diversify into the mutual fund and insurance space through Paytm Money Ltd. Paytm wallet has nearly 300 million users.

In the last one year, Paytm has also built a separate e-commerce marketplace Paytm Mall. Earlier this month, it said it is targeting $10 billion in annualised gross sales by March 2019 on its e-commerce platform.

Also read: Paytm’s Mutual Fund Platform To Go Live This Month As It Expands Services