China’s Ant Group and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp are said to be seeking to sell their stakes in India-based digital payments firm Paytm in the open market, the Economic Times (ET) reported on Monday.

Ant Group and SoftBank have discussed selling shares in the company through a secondary stock deal, according to the report.

These shareholders and the investment banks representing them had earlier approached telecoms billionaire Sunil Mittal of Bharti Enterprises and another Indian conglomerate with an offer to buy their stakes, according to ET.

These talks, however, did not make much headway and Bharti is not currently engaged in conversations on this issue.

Paytm’s management including its founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma are seen to be opposed to a strategic investor coming on board the company.

A secondary sale to financial investors in the open market through a block deal is, however, still a possibility, the ET reported.

According to the ET, China-based Alibaba Group had exited the online payments major recently but Ant Group is still the single largest shareholder in the firm with about 25 percent stake. SoftBank and Elevation Capital own around 13 percent and 15 percent respectively, the report added.

According to Reuters, Paytm has been under pressure to turn profitable ever since its dismal listing in late 2021.

Its shares have tumbled about 70 percent below their IPO price.

Featured photo credits: Paytm

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