NEW DELHI: E-commerce payment and digital wallet player Paytm has got a new investor, and this time an unlikely one — Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. It is the first ever direct investment by Buffett's Berkshire in India.
Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma is upbeat. Berkshire's investment is an endorsement for Indian entrepreneurs, he told Chandra Srikant of ETNow on Tuesday. The success and partnership with Berkshire, according to Sharma, is more important than the money that's coming in.
Sharma revealed that he has no idea about why Berkshire chose the company and its selection criteria, but felt that his company's moat and expansion speed could have done the job.
One of the fund managers at Berkshire took the call of investing in Paytm, he said, adding that he has not seen Warren Buffett yet in person.
Berkshires investment manager Todd Combs will join the eight-member board of the company. He will replace Amit Singhal, former head of Googles search business, who has left the board.
Sharma admitted that Paytm has more responsibility now towards its existing as well as new investors.
In an interview to ETNow in May last year, Buffett had said a lot was happening in India, which he found "incredible".
But size has always been a problem, Raamdeo Agrawal of Motilal Oswal Securities had told the news channel in May.
"Where is the sizeable opportunity? Buffett's Berkshire is sitting on $135 billion cash, which by the year end will be $160-170 billion. The minimum deal size you must suggest is not $100 million, you must suggest high quality company where he can invest a few billion dollars at a reasonable price. He is not going to buy a high quality company at any price," Agrawal had said then.
ET was first to report on Monday that Buffett may pick 3-4 per cent stake in Paytm, which may value the mobile payments and online financial services company at over $10 billion. The news is significant, given the fact that the Oracle of Omaha has stayed away from technology companies until a few years ago.
Sharma added that he has no discussions on future investment from Berkshire. His plan is to ramp up distribution and build on bringing in more consumers.