US-based investment giant Berkshire Hathaway pumped a reported INR25 billion ($356 million) into the parent company of Indian mobile wallet provider Paytm.
Berkshire Hathaway joins Alipay parent Ant Financial, SoftBank and private equity company SAIF in backing One97, which owns Paytm, one of the leading mobile financial services providers in India.
In a statement, Paytm confirmed the investment and appointment of Berkshire Hathaway investment manager Todd Combs to its board. Although it did not disclose the value of the stake, The Economic Times reported the sum at INR25 billion.
Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma said: “Berkshire’s experience in financial services and long-term investment horizon is going to be a huge advantage in Paytm’s journey of bringing 500 million Indians to the mainstream economy through financial inclusion.”
In addition to its core mobile wallet proposition, Paytm offers savings accounts through Paytm Payments Bank, and a number of e-commerce and shopping services. During 2017, in the face of increased competition from messaging companies in the mobile payment sector, Paytm added chat functionalities to its offering.
The investment is the latest bid by an international company to grab a share of India’s fast-growing mobile payments sector. In addition to Paytm’s other investors, financial services in India have been targeted by Google and Facebook as a potential growth area.