“This is an endorsement from the world’s most respected investor,” says Paytm Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma.
Indeed it is. Well-known investor, actor, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and financier Warren Buffett, who avoided investing in the technology sector because he did not “like to own stocks in companies whose business he didn’t understand,” has made his first bet on Indian technology company — One97 Communications, the parent of digital payments company Paytm.
Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma said in a blog post that US-based investment firm Berkshire Hathaway is now a part of Paytm’s journey.
Berkshire Hathaway joins Ant Financial, SoftBank, Alibaba, and SAIF Partners as key shareholders in Paytm.
Todd Combs, investment manager, Berkshire Hathaway, said, “I have been impressed by Paytm and am excited about being a part of its growth story, as it looks to transform payments and financial services in India.”
As part of the deal, Combs has joined Paytm’s board of directors, which also includes Pallavi Shroff and Mark Schwartz as independent directors.
Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma said, “We feel both excited and humbled by this endorsement. Berkshire’s experience in financial services and long-term investment horizon is going to be a huge advantage in Paytm’s journey of bringing 500 Mn Indians to the mainstream economy through financial inclusion. It is my honour to welcome Todd to our board, where he will bring his wealth of experience to guide our management team.”
Earlier, reports had surfaced that Buffett, through his US-based holding company Berkshire Hathaway is in talks to pick up a 3-4% stake in the company through a primary subscription of shares for about $286.81 Mn-$358.37 Mn (INR 2,000-2,500Cr) in One97 Communications.
It was being speculated that the deal could be clinched in the coming weeks, valuing Indian digital payments giant Paytm at about $12 Bn.