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SoftBank-backed Paytm raises $1 billion in fresh funding

A worker adjusts a hoarding of Paytm, a digital payments firm, in Ahmedabad, January 31, 2019. REUTERS/Amit Dave/Files

NEW DELHI/BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian digital payments company Paytm said on Monday it has raised fresh funds from a group of investors including existing backers SoftBank’s Vision Fund and China’s Ant Financial Services in a deal valuing the firm at $16 billion.

Paytm did not officially disclose details of the funding, but a source said the Indian company raised $1 billion in the latest round.

SoftBank’s fresh investment in Paytm comes as the Japanese investment firm’s founder Masayoshi Son battles to restore his reputation after an ill-fated investment in office-sharing firm WeWork.

New investment deals by SoftBank are also under growing scrutiny after the group reported its first quarterly loss in 14 years, dragged down by an $8.9 billion hit at Vision Fund.

Paytm said on Monday it will expand into insurance, lending, stockbroking and investments and invest 100 billion rupees ($1.4 billion) over the next three years to bring in more users to its services.

“This new investment by our current and new investors is a reaffirmation of our commitment to serve Indians with new-age financial services,” Paytm founder and chief executive Vijay Shekhar Sharma said in the statement.

Other investors include Discovery Capital and funds advised by T. Rowe Price Associates.

($1 = 71.7700 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal in New Delhi and Derek Francis in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips & Shri Navaratnam