CCI approves sale of stake in Paytm’s parent

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The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved SoftBank Group’s purchase of a 20% stake in One97 Communications, the parent company of digital payments firm Paytm.

AZB & Partners advised SoftBank Group in the acquisition, led by partners Samir R Gandhi and Rahul Rai and supported by senior associate Akshat Kulshrestha.

“AZB completed the notification requirements under section 6(2) of the Competition Act and facilitated the process of getting an expedited approval from the CCI within 19 working days,” said Gandhi.

One97 Communications raised US$1.4 billion from SoftBank in the deal, which enabled ownership of one-fifth of the company by the Japanese conglomerate. It is SoftBank’s largest investment in the Indian internet sphere and the company possesses an optimistic view on the future of the digital payments business in India.

“This transaction involved communications with multiple stakeholders and the challenge was with respect to delineation of the relevant market – a market for digital payments in India,” said Gandhi. “The deal involved the analysis of the market to demonstrate how digital payment services offered by One97 Communications are substitutable with other payment options.”

AZB & Partners cited its experience in advising private equity companies and investment companies as valuable in completing the deal, adding the work involved analyzing the varied business operations of SoftBank and mapping the multiple market overlaps with One97 Communications.