Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is said to be preparing to invest at least $285 million in the Indian company that runs the popular digital payments and online financial services firm, Paytm.
The Mumbai-based Economic Times reported the talks Monday, noting that if Berkshire follows through by paying $285.4 million to $356.7 million for a 3-4% stake in One97 Communications, it would be Buffett’s first direct investment in India.
Bloomberg subsequently reported that Berkshire has agreed to buy the stake, and a formal announcement will follow in the next few days.
According to the publications, the investment will value Paytm at over $10 billion. Other backers include Alibaba and SoftBank—when the latter’s Vision Fund put $1 billion into Paytm last year, the company was valued at $7 billion.
Paytm’s rivals include PhonePe, owned by Flipkart—the Indian ecommerce giant in which Walmart recently bought a controlling stake—and Google’s Tez. According to The Economic Times, Paytm is currently pushing hard into offline retail through a discount scheme for customers who pay with the Paytm app, and is also delving into the investment and insurance sectors.
Berkshire Hathaway has traditionally shied away from technology investments, but changed tack a couple years back by buying into Apple big-time. However, the company certainly has a long track record of investing in financial services, with holdings including Goldman Sachs, American Express, Wells Fargo and Bank of America.