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SoftBank, Alibaba to invest US$445m in India's Paytm E-Commerce

Paytm E-Commerce competes with Inc's Indian unit and home-grown Flipkart.

[MUMBAI] SoftBank Group is investing US$400 million in India's Paytm E-Commerce Pvt Ltd in a funding round that will value the online retailer at roughly US$1.9 billion, a regulatory filing showed on Monday.

Alibaba, an existing investor in Paytm E-Commerce, is also putting in US$45 million in the round, the filing showed.

SoftBank, which is among major investors in India's fast-growing e-commerce sector and already owns a stake in Paytm's parent, confirmed investing in Paytm Mall, the brand name under which Paytm E-Commerce operates an online market place.

"We believe Paytm Mall's offline-to-online operating model, combined with the strength of the Paytm ecosystem, is uniquely positioned to enable India's 15 million offline retail shops to participate in India's e-commerce boom," SoftBank said in a statement on Monday.

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In a separate statement, Amit Sinha, chief operating officer of Paytm Mall said the company would deploy the latest investment from SoftBank and Alibaba to beef up its technology and build superior logistics among other things.

A filing with India's Registrar of Companies showed SoftBank units will get a 21.1 per cent stake in Paytm E-Commerce after the investment which would come in four tranches.

Alibaba.Com Singapore E-Commerce Pvt Ltd, which currently owns 36.3 per cent of the Indian e-retailer, will remain the single-largest shareholder of Paytm E-Commerce but with a relatively smaller stake of just over 30 per cent after its latest investment is completed in four tranches.

Paytm E-Commerce competes with Inc's Indian unit and home-grown Flipkart. A group company of Paytm's parent One97 Communications Ltd runs India's biggest digital wallet services and also has a stake in a payments bank.