warren buffett
Reuters

Berkshire Hathaway Inc, which is run by billionaire Warren Buffet, is in talks to invest Rs 2,200-2,500 crore in One97 Communications Ltd, which owns digital payment firm Paytm.

Berkshire Hathaway will pick up three-four per cent stake in One97 and the deal is being done through primary subscription of shares.

If the deal, expected to be announced in the next two weeks, goes through, it will be Buffet's first direct investment in India. China's Alibaba Group and Japan's SoftBank are major investors in Paytm. It will also be the company's first investment in a privately-held tech company anywhere in the world.

Paytm has been in talks with Berkshire Hathaway since February to raise Rs 2,200-2,500 funds at a valuation of about $10-12 billion.

Berkshire Hathaway has invested in publicly listed tech companies in the past like IBM and Apple, though it exited the former but still holds stocks of the latter.

In May, there were reports that Berkshire Hathaway tried to invest in cab service provider Uber but talks were unsuccessful.

Before this, Buffet set up Berkshire India partnering Bajaj Allianz in 2011 to sell insurance but it exited the partnership in 2013 citing excessive regulation.

Berkshire Hathaway's long-awaited entry into India will be seen as a resounding endorsement of the tech ecosystem in the country from one of the world's most respected investors when many start-ups have come to a cropper because of high valuations and unsustainable financials in the last few years.

Paytm says it touched $4 billion in transaction value per month and 1.3 billion transactions in the quarter ended June.

One97 was founded by Vijay Shekhar Sharma in 2000 and ranks among the top three consumer internet companies in India.

The company offers payment solutions in which people can transact through Paytm digital wallet and Paytm Payments Bank.