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Paytm valuation jumps as staff reaps windfall from stock options

29 January, 2018

Digital payments firm Paytm, run by One97 Communications Ltd, said on Monday its valuation has jumped close to $10 billion (Rs 63,595 crore) after some current and former employees exercised their stock options.

The employees scooped up Rs 300 crore ($47 million) from the stock options, Paytm said in a statement. It didn’t disclose who the buyers were.

Last week, media reports said Paytm’s valuation would jump after a secondary sale by employees to new investors including Canadian hedge fund Discovery Capital.

Paytm is now the second-biggest unicorn in India by valuation. It trails only Flipkart, which had a valuation of $11.6 billion when it raised $2.4 billion from Japan’s SoftBank Group last year. A unicorn is a startup valued at least $1 billion.

The sale comes less than a year after a similar transaction where 47 Paytm employees sold shares worth Rs 100 crore.

On Monday, Paytm said more than 200 former and existing employees across business verticals have earned Rs 500 crore through secondary sales till date.

A secondary transaction is when a new investor buys shares from existing investors but the money does not go into the company’s coffers.

The company was valued around $7 billion when it raised $1.4 billion from Japan’s SoftBank Group last May. Its other investors include SAIF Partners, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial Services Group.

Before that mega funding round, Paytm was valued at $4.8 billion, according to VCCircle estimates, when it raised funding from an investment fund of Taiwanese chipmaker MediaTek in August 2016.

Paytm is not the only Internet company whose employees have reaped a windfall from stock options in recent times. In October 2017, investment firm Tiger Global- and Accel Partners-backed logistics firm BlackBuck had bought back shares from employees.

In December 2017, e-commerce firm Flipkart completed the $100 million (Rs 645 crore) repurchase of employee stock options that it had initiated in October.

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Paytm valuation jumps as staff reaps windfall from stock options

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