Berkshire Hathaway has acquired a 25 billion rupee ($356 m) stake in Paytm. This is the conglomerate’s first investment in any Indian startup.
Warren Buffett, Berkshire’s chairman and chief executive officer, wasn’t directly involved in the investment in One97 Communications Ltd., his assistant, Debbie Bosanek, said Monday in an email.
According to a report published in Economic Times, Berkshire was in talks for a 3%-4% stake in a deal valuing Paytm at more than $10bn, citing people familiar with the matter.
The investment is a major endorsement for Paytm that has grown to become India’s leading digital payments platform in just eight years.
Paytm, founded and run by Vijay Shekhar Sharma, is the leading player in India’s booming digital-payments market. Berkshire joins a high-profile group that’s invested in Sharma’s companies, including Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank Group Corp. and Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Ant Financial.
Buffett, had long focused on value investing and shied away from technology companies because of what he joked were his own “intellectual shortcomings” in understanding the field. But he has been adapting in recent years and is ready for investment in tech companies. Earlier this year, he considered an investment in Uber.
Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has a penchant for financial services and disclosed in August that he had boosted his stake in Goldman Sachs Group Inc. He also has sizable investments in American Express Co., Wells Fargo & Co. and Bank of America Corp.