Market-bound Paytm’s shareholders greenlight expansion of ESOP pool
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One97 Communications Ltd, which owns digital payments firm Paytm and is headed for the bourses, has got greenlight from shareholders to expand its employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) pool, going by company filings on Tuesday with the corporate affairs ministry.  

Paytm will be increasing its ESOP pool by more than two times from 24,094,280 equity options to 61,094,280 options.  

The move comes after the company had held an extra-ordinary general meeting on September 2 to seek shareholder approval. 

According to the company’s draft papers for the initial public offering, Paytm had a total paid-up share capital of 605,930,140 shares at a face value of Rs 1 each. 

Along with this, another 40 current and former Paytm employees have converted their ESOP options to 332,360 One97 shares, filings show.

Names include V Sasiraman, founder of Chennai-based ticketing startup TicketNew, which was acquired in 2018 by Paytm.  

In the last week of August, close to 166 former and current employees had been allotted close to 1.01 million shares. The list included Paytm’s president Amit Nayyar who was heading the financial services division at the Noida-based startup and resigned in June. 

Earlier, Mint reported, citing sources, that roughly 1,000 employees at Paytm have vested ESOPs in the company with a total of 14 million options vested.  

According to the draft papers, directors of the company including Vijay Shekhar Sharma and newly appointed directors Mark Schwartz and Neeraj Arora hold almost 60.55 million shares in Paytm. 

While key managerial personnel including group chief financial officer (CFO) Madhur Deora; CFO Vikas Garg; and Paytm Games’ chief operating officer Sudhanshu Gupta hold 1.09 million shares in the company.  

Paytm was also in talks with five lenders to help employees borrow money to exercise their stock options before the public listing. The company wanted to help employees pay for buying their vested options and make tax payments if required, and was in talks with IIFL, ICICI Securities, and Edelweiss Capital for a Rs 100 crore credit line.

Earlier in July, One97 sought the market regulator’s approval for its Rs 16,600 crore initial public offering that is expected to be one of the country’s largest share sales till date.

As part of the offering, India’s second most valuable startup will sell new shares worth Rs 8,300 crore and existing shareholders will sell stocks worth Rs 8,300 crore.

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