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Ant Group nominee on Paytm board of directors resigns

Ant is an affiliate company of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which sold $125 million of shares in Paytm last month

February 03, 2023 / 02:50 PM IST

Chinese fintech major Ant Group’s nominee to Paytm’s board, Douglas Feagin, has resigned as  non-executive, non-independent director of the company, according to a regulatory filing.

Ant is an affiliate company of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which sold $125 million of shares in Paytm last month. Both Alibaba and Ant cumulatively still hold around 28 percent stake in Paytm.

“Paytm’s journey to achieving profitable financial services of scale in India has been inspiring. In recognition of the company’s growth as a publicly listed company and the maturity of the business, at the request of the nominating shareholder, I hereby resign from my position as a director on the Board of Directors of Paytm,” the regulatory filing quoted Feagin as saying.

In 2015, Alibaba and Ant Financial had become the largest shareholders in Paytm when they invested $680 million for over 44 percent equity stake in the company.

Alibaba was never a strategic shareholder for Paytm, the fintech’s founder and the chief executive officer Vijay Shekhar Sharma said at Davos last month.

Talking to CNBC TV18 on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, Sharma said the company was not aware of the sale beforehand — and that it could have been planned better.

"Alibaba was never a strategic shareholder for us. Alibaba and Paytm were never together in the business... The exit could have been planned better, but it is what it is," he said.

While a strategic shareholder has business relations with the investee company, a financial investor makes a bet just for returns.

Paytm is currently trading at Rs 527 apiece on the BSE, down 75 percent from its initial public offering price of Rs 2,150 per share.

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Deepsekhar Choudhury
Deepsekhar Choudhury Deepsekhar covers tech and startups at Moneycontrol. Tweets at @deepsekharc
first published: Feb 3, 2023 02:50 pm