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Paytm targets $3 billion IPO, would be India’s largest debut

Users can use Paytm UPI, Paytm Wallet, debit and credit cards, or net banking as their preferred payment mode on Paytm.
Users can use Paytm UPI, Paytm Wallet, debit and credit cards, or net banking as their preferred payment mode on Paytm. (MINT_PRINT)

India’s leading digital payments provider is aiming to raise about 218 billion rupees ($3 billion) in an initial public offering late this year, in what could be the country’s largest debut ever.

Paytm, India’s leading digital payments provider, is aiming to raise about 218 billion rupees ($3 billion) in an initial public offering late this year, according to a person familiar with the deal, in what could be the country’s largest debut ever.

The startup, backed by investors including Berkshire Hathaway Inc., SoftBank Group Corp. and Ant Group Co., plans to list in India around November and its offering could coincide with the Diwali festival season, said the person, asking not to be named because the details are private. 

Paytm, formally called One97 Communications Ltd., is targeting a valuation of around $25 billion to $30 billion. The One97 board plans to meet this Friday to formally approve the IPO, said the person. Paytm declined to comment in response to emailed questions.

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If successful, Paytm’s initial share sale would surpass Coal India Ltd.’s offering, which raised more than 150 billion rupees in 2010 in the country’s largest IPO so far. Banks shortlisted to run the Paytm offering include Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., with Morgan Stanley the leading contender, the person said. The process is expected to get rolling in late June or early July. The banks did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The public market debut will include a mix of new and existing shares to meet regulatory obligations in India. The country’s regulations require that 10% of shares are floated within two years and 25% within five years. 

Paytm, led by founder and Chief Executive Officer Vijay Shekhar Sharma, has been focusing on ramping up revenue and monetizing its services over the past year. It’s expanded beyond digital payments into banking, credit cards, financial services, wealth management and digital wallets. It also supports India’s financial payments backbone, the Unified Payments Interface or UPI.

Read more: WhatsApp is making changes to its payments platform

Paytm has fended off stiff competition from a swath of global players including Walmart Inc.-owned PhonePe, Google Pay, Amazon Pay as well as Facebook Inc.-owned WhatsApp Pay. It has the biggest market share of India’s merchant payments. 

Paytm has over 20 million merchant partners and its users make 1.4 billion monthly transactions, according to numbers in a recent company blog post. In a recent conversation, CEO Sharma said Paytm had its best-ever quarter in the first three months of this year after pandemic-related spending spurred digital payments.

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