SoftBank Group offloaded large portion of its stake in Paytm just before the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) clamped down on the latter's payments bank business. SoftBank Vision Fund had started selling its stake in the company in November 2022.
According to a Bloomberg report, the stake of SoftBank was around 5 per cent in January, down from 18.5 per cent at the time of company's listing in 2021. Navneet Govil, SoftBank's Vision Fund Finance Chief, told Bloomberg, "We felt it was prudent to start monetizing. We’re glad we did a good portion of Paytm before the recent stock correction.”
On January 31, the central bank had asked the Paytm Payments Bank to stop taking new deposits in its accounts and wallets. Following the action, the company's stock price has fallen over 45 per cent. It was trading at Rs 416.90 at the time of publishing. Compared to its issue price of Rs 2,150, the company's stock price has lost over 80 per cent value.
The report added that the SoftBank has not made it clear what it will do with its remaining stake in the company. Recently, SoftBank reported $6.6 billion profit in the December quarter, its first in five quarters.
On Thursday, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das addressed media on the Paytm crisis, saying that its actions were preceded by years of bilateral engagements with the company. Das said, "When an entity does not take corrective action, then we impose supervisory restrictions." The central bank will release a detailed FAQ on the matter next week to address the questions surrounding its move on the company.