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Softbank Sells 2% Stake Worth $120 Million in Paytm to Meet SEBI Rules

SoftBank sells another 2% stake in Paytm’s parent One97 Communications Ltd, via open market operations, generating around $300 million.

On Thursday, Japanese tech investor SoftBank notified stock exchanges that it had sold a 2.07% stake in One97 Communications Limited, the parent of fintech firm Paytm. This was done in a series of open market transactions since February 2023 to comply with the takeover rules of the market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).

“SVF India Holdings (Cayman) disposed of 13,103,148 equity interests in One 97 Communications Limited in a series of disposals between February 10, 2023, and May 8, 2023, of which May 8, 2023, The disposal violates the 2% threshold stipulated in Section 29(2) of the Sebi Takeover Regulations,” SoftBank said in a regulatory filing to the stock exchange.

SoftBank entity SVF India Holdings (Cayman) Ltd sold 13,103,148 shares between February 10, 2023, and May 8, 2023. This represents approximately 2.07% of the total stake.

SoftBank’s 13.24% stake in Paytm has now been reduced to 11.17% due to the stake sale. That is roughly 70,809,082 shares.

The market value of the deal was not disclosed in the regulatory filing. But that could be worth about $120 million, according to media reports.

Meanwhile, SoftBank reported a net loss of 970 billion yen ($7.18 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31 on Thursday, compared with 1.7 trillion yen ($13 billion) a year earlier.

The latest results come as its investment, the SoftBank Vision Fund, posted huge losses amid a sharp technological stock sell-off.

In November 2022, SoftBank sold about a 4.5% stake in Paytm for Rs 1,631 crore in an open market transaction. The Japanese conglomerate invested $1.6 billion in Paytm in 2017. It sold $220 million in its initial public offering (IPO).

In February, China’s Alibaba Group also sold a 3.3% stake in Paytm via the open market for Rs 1,378 crore. Alibaba affiliate Ant Group is also reportedly in talks to sell a stake in the company in a second block deal.

Paytm recently announced its Q4FY23 results. Its consolidated net loss narrowed to Rs 168.4 crore in Q4FY23 from Rs 761.4 crore a year earlier.

For Q4FY23, Paytm posted an operating income of Rs 2,334.5 crore. It grew by 51.5% from Rs 1,540.9 crore in Q4FY22.

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