August 10, 2022

Published from Mumbai, Delhi & Bhopal

Want Paytm in my portfolio, says valuation guru Aswath Damodaran

New Delhi : India’s leading digital payments and financial services platform Paytm is heading for a market debut with an aim to raise $2.2 billion, which is touted to be India’s largest IPO. And the IPO is already getting the gurus in the financial services industry excited.

Aswath Damodaran, the award-winning Professor of Finance at the Stern School of Business at New York University, recently said in an interview with an Indian news channel that he would place his bets on Paytm. “Paytm has some real potential because I think this is a business which is huge, payment processing and financial services is huge. If I can get Paytm at the right price, I would want it in my portfolio,” said Damodaran.

Damodaran teaches equity valuations at Stern, and is also referred to as the “dean of valuation”.

Multiple other startups like Ola are also reported to be aiming for a stock market debut. When asked about what makes a company or sector interesting, Damodaran said, “There are two things I look for sectors that are likely to be disrupted: one is how big the market is. Financial services is a huge market, automobiles is a huge market. The other thing that I look for is the existing status quo.

“One indicator that a business is going to be disrupted is if nobody’s happy — customers are not happy, companies are not happy, regulators are not happy. Let’s face it, that’s the state of the game right now in financial services. I think there are sectors where disruption is going to come simply because things are not working the way it is right now.”

But if he had to choose between Paytm and Ola? “I would prefer Paytm to Ola because the ridesharing business is a complete disaster around the world. Ridesharing is one of those businesses where they have figured out how to grow but nobody seems to have figured out how to make money and it’s not just Ola, it’s Didi, Grab, Uber, Lyft,” he said in the interview.

Paytm offers payment services, commerce and cloud services, and financial services to 333 million consumers and over 21 million merchants, as on March 31, 2021. Paytm is India’s largest payments platform based on the number of consumers, number of merchants, number of consumer to merchant transactions and revenue, as on March 31, 2021.

Paytm is the largest payment gateway aggregator in India based on total transactions, with the widest ecosystem of payment instruments. The company’s lending business (offered in collaboration with financial institution partners), includes personal loans, merchant loans, as well as its Buy Now, Pay Later product Paytm Postpaid. Paytm’s financial institution partners disbursed 1.4 million loans in Q4FY21.

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