Paytm raises $1.1 billion from anchor investors in India’s blockbuster IPO

Paytm has raised $1.104 billion in India’s largest-ever anchor round as part of its initial public offering, which is also shaping up to be the nation’s largest, as the poster child of the Indian startup ecosystem moves closer to listing in the public markets.

Blackrock, GIC, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Birla MF are among the investors who financed the anchor round, Paytm said in a filing with a local exchange. Bidding for shares of Paytm was oversubscribed by 10 times, according to a person familiar with the matter.

With Wednesday’s investment, Paytm has now secured nearly half of the $2.45 billion capital it is looking to raise from the IPO. The startup, which offers a range of financial services, is seeking a valuation of over $19 billion in the IPO, it said in a call with reporters last week. Backed by Alibaba, Berkshire Hathaway and SoftBank, Paytm was valued at $16 billion in its previous funding round in the second half of 2019.

The investments of $140 million by Blackrock and $126 million by CPPIB are also the largest by institutional investors in an Indian IPO. Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Dutch pension investment firm APG, City of New York, Texas Teachers Retirement, NPS Japan, University of Texas, NTUC Pension out of Singapore, University of Cambridge, UBS, Mirae Asset and Standard Life Aberdeen also participated in the anchor round.

Paytm, which will open the bid for its shares for three days starting November 8, has kept the share price range between 2,080 to 2,150 Indian rupees ($27.9 to $28.85). The startup is planning to list around November 18, TechCrunch has previously reported.

A successful listing would enable Paytm to attain the title of the biggest IPO in India, surpassing a record $2.07 billion initial public offering by government-owned coal mining and refining firm Coal India 11 years ago.

Paytm launched in 2009 to help users easily make digital payments from their phones and top up credit. It has since expanded to a wide range of services such as payment gateway, e-commerce marketplace, movie and travel ticket booking, as well as insurance and digital gold.

The startup, led by Vijay Shekhar Sharma, describes itself as having “created a payments-led super app, through which we offer our consumers innovative and intuitive digital products and services.” The startup says it has amassed more than 330 million users across its services, more than a third of whom transact annually.

In a filing last week, Paytm disclosed that it clocked $118 million in revenue from its operations in the quarter that ended in June this year, up 62% from the prior quarter. In Q2, the startup’s losses surged to $50.9 million, Paytm said, citing additional marketing and promotional campaigns in the run up to the IPO.

Paytm’s IPO comes at a time when the pandemic has fuelled India’s digital economy and local stock exchanges are showing growing appetite for consumer tech stocks. Indian food delivery giant Zomato made a stellar debut earlier this year. Shares of Nykaa, a fashion e-commerce startup, and Indian insurance aggregator PolicyBazaar, have also seen strong interest by institutional investors in recent days as both of them plan to list later this month.

In the filing last week, Paytm said that it plans to deploy more than $250 million of the total capital it is seeking to raise in the IPO to enter new initiatives and explore acquisition opportunities. The startup’s offerings compete with a range of services, including Google Pay, WhatsApp Pay, PhonePe, MakeMyTrip and BookMyShow.