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SoftBank plans newest funding infusion

Japanese media and telecom conglomerate SoftBank planned the newest funding infusion worth $ 1.9 billion in One 97 Communications, which is owned by online payments provider Paytm in a single-largest round of funding for an Indian digital commerce company. The deal will value the Noida-based company at around $9 billion and provide a 20% stake to SoftBank, said sources, adding that the deal was agreed on earlier this week and is now waiting for board approval. Paytm last raised funding from Taiwanese semiconductor maker Taiwanese semiconductor maker MediaTek about eight months ago, when it was valued at $4.8 billion. Founded by Vijay Shekhar Sharma who also owns a licence for the payment bank, One97 plans to earmark nearly $1billion to expand its payments business into high growth areas like lending and insurance. The payment bank operations are awaiting final regulatory approval, said one person aware of the developments. SoftBank and Paytm did not reply to email queries. ET had reported in its April 19 edition that Paytm is in talks to raise $1.4-1.9 billion from SoftBank at a pre-money valuation ranging from $7-8 billion. Earlier this month, India’s largest online retailer Flipkart announced a $1.4-billion funding round from China’s Tencent and American technology corporations -Microsoft and eBay, which valued the Bengaluru-based company at $11.6 billion earlier this month. The Paytm funding will double the total investment in India by SoftBank.The Masayoshi Son-led group has so far deployed close to $2 billion in a clutch of Indian companies including online marketplace Snapdeal, ride hailing app Ola, hotel room aggregator OYO, and hyperlocal delivery service Grofers. The bank, which sets up a $100-billion investment fund, is also in talks to sell Snapdeal, its largest investment in India, to Flipkart and further invest in the combined entity.

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