April 19, 2017 / 4:00 AM / 4 months ago

India's Paytm in talks with SoftBank to raise $1.2-$1.5 billion - report

An advertisement of Paytm, a digital wallet company, is pictured at a road side stall in Kolkata, India, January 25, 2017. Picture taken January 25, 2017.Rupak De Chowdhuri

(Reuters) - Electronics payments provider Paytm is in talks with Japan's SoftBank Group (9984.T) to raise $1.2-$1.5 billion (935 million - 1.17 billion pounds)in cash, making the latter one of the largest shareholders in the fintech start-up, Mint newspaper reported on Wednesday citing sources.

The deal, which could increase Paytm's valuation to $7 billion to $9 billion, will see SoftBank buying some shares from existing Paytm investor SAIF Partners and founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma beside investing money in the company, the report said.

Local media had reported recently that SoftBank is keen to sell its stake in India's e-commerce firm Snapdeal in exchange for a stake in market leader Flipkart (IPO-FLPK.N).

Paytm may also buy Snapdeal-owned payments rival Freecharge, as part of the deal, the report said.

Digital payments have assumed great significance in India after the decision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government ban on old high-valued bank notes in November led to a severe cash crunch across the country.

Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Euan Rocha

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