Rumor: Paytm is in billion-dollar investment talks with SoftBank

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Advertisement boards of Paytm, a digital wallet company, are seen placed at stalls of roadside vegetable vendors as they wait for customers in Mumbai, India, November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade

(Reuters) – Electronics payments provider Paytm is in talks with Japan’s SoftBank Group to raise $1.2-$1.5 billion in cash, making the latter one of the largest shareholders in the FinTech start-up, Mint newspaper reported on Wednesday citing sources.

The deal, which could increase Paytm’s valuation to $7 billion to $9 billion, will see SoftBank buying some shares from existing Paytm investor SAIF Partners and founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma beside investing money in the company, the report said.

Local media had reported recently that SoftBank is keen to sell its stake in India’s e-commerce firm Snapdeal in exchange for a stake in market leader Flipkart.

Paytm may also buy Snapdeal-owned payments rival Freecharge, as part of the deal, the report said.

Digital payments have assumed great significance in India after the decision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government ban on old high-valued bank notes in November led to a severe cash crunch across the country.

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Euan Rocha)

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