Billionaire investor Warren Buffett's company Berkshire Hathaway has bought a stake in Paytm, the company has confirmed. The development comes a day after The Economic Times reported that the US-based financial services company was in talks with the Indian digital payments firm for a possible investment. Berkshire confirmed that an “investment was made” in One97 Communications, which is the parent company of Paytm.
According to CNBC, Buffett was not personally involved in the deal. Todd Combs, one of Berkshire’s key fund managers, who is also seen as a Potential Chief Investment Officer at the firm, is leading the transaction. The Economic Times reported that Berkshire Hathaway was in talks to invest about Rs 2,000-2,500 crore in One97 Communications and take 3-4 percent stake in the first direct investment in India by the US company. If the amount mentioned is presumed to be accurate, the investment could peg Paytm’s value over $10 million.
The digital payment platform already has backing from Japan’s Soft-Bank and China’s Alibaba Group Holdings and its fintech affiliate Ant Financial. Paytm quickly ascended to popularity after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation move in 2016. It registered over seven million transactions worth Rs 1.2 billion in a day after the drive began. The digital payments major Paytm’s annualised gross transaction value (GTV) crossed $20 billion (approx Rs 1.3 lakh crore) in February 2018.