eBay has begun talks to lead a USD 160-170 million strategic investment in Paytm Mall, Economic Times reported. The deal could be announced next month.
eBay will continue to run its independent online portal in India, but the US-based online marketplace giant is looking to explore an offline-to-online commerce and payments strategy in the country, two people aware of the deal told ET.
Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma had taken board approval to bring in a new strategic investor in December, under the impression that Alibaba and SoftBank may not pump in fresh capital into the company.
Chinese tech giant Alibaba has 38% stake in One97 Communications, Paytm’s parent company, while SoftBank has about 19%.
This would be ebay’s third bet in an Indian e-commerce player, after Snapdeal and Flipkart. Last year, eBay sold its 6.55% stake in Flipkart to Walmart for USD 1.1 billion. It still holds a 5% stake in Snapdeal.
Paytm Mall is targeting USD 2 billion in gross merchandise sales in 2019.
Paytm’s valuation rose to USD 10 billion when Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway invested USD 300 million in August last year. Industry insiders said the valuation shot up to USD 16 billion in a recent secondary round (where existing investors sell their shares to new ones).