UBS in talks to invest $400 million in India’s Paytm

UBS is in talks to invest $400 million in Indian digital payments startup Paytm, according to Bloomberg.

A fund run by UBS’s asset management arm is in discussions to buy a stake in Paytm alongside some of the Swiss bank’s clients, according to people close to the talks. UBS is negotiating the purchase of Paytm stock from a group of the Indian fintech company’s employees, the people said.

Paytm was last valued at $16 billion during a 2019 funding round, but its price is likely to have risen substantially in a market where regulatory pressure for a move away from cash and the Covid-19 pandemic have combined to create a perfet storm for digital payments.

Speaking at a Reuters conference Wednesday, Paytm CEO Vijay Shekar Sharma said the firm was on the cusp of turning its first profit.

“We could very well break even this year, we will start making money,” he told the conference. “I was surprised by the opportunity of monetization in 2020 during the pandemic, not just by our wealth accounts but also by lending.”

China’s Ant Financial has a 30% stake in Paytm, although rumours abound that the Chinese giant is about to cash in its holdings due to rising political tensions between the two countries.

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