Paytm or Flipkart? Softbank keeps options open for Snapdeal sale
Masayoshi Son-led Softbank and Vijay Shekhar’s fintech company Paytm are believed to be in discussions regarding a possible funding of $1 billion (Rs 64,000 crore) by the Japanese conglomerate into the payments platform. The move indicates that Softbank, which is also leading talks for a possible takeover of e-commerce platform Snapdeal by Flipkart, is keeping its options open.
An all-stock merger of Snapdeal with Paytm is being discussed at the highest level, Business Standard reported citing sources. SoftBank, which is among the oldest investors in Alibaba, is also learnt to be exploring the possibility of taking equity in Paytm for investments of close to $1 billion, it said.
The talks come at a time when SoftBank is working on a sale plan of e-commerce firm Snapdeal and is likely to make an announcement in the next few weeks. SoftBank is the largest shareholder in Snapdeal, which is locked in an intense battle with Amazon India and Flipkart.
Sources said Paytm may buy Snapdeal-owned payments firm Freecharge as part of the transaction with SoftBank. The funding will also help Paytm accelerate expansion ahead of the launch of its payments bank service.
The Alibaba-backed company already runs mobile wallet and e-commerce services. Paytm has seen manifold growth in transactions on its platform after the government scrapped high denomination notes in November last year.
SoftBank, which has committed an investment of over USD 10 billion in the Indian market, is also engaged in sale discussion for Snapdeal to rival Flipkart. Paytm, which counts China's Alibaba as a prominent shareholder, was valued at about USD 5 billion last year when it had raised USD 60 million from Mediatek.
Also, Reliance Capital recently sold its 1 per cent stake to Alibaba for an estimated Rs 275 crore.