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Exclusive: Paytm allots stock options worth $12 Mn to existing and former employees

Paytm has been gearing up for its initial public offering likely in the next three-four months and the digital payments firm has now started rewarding its existing and former employees through employee stock ownership plan.

The board of Paytm has passed a special resolution to allot 47,042 equity shares vested under its ESOP Scheme 2008 and ESOP Scheme 2019 to nearly 60 former and current employees, regulatory filings show.

According to Fintrackr’s estimates, the fresh issue is worth nearly Rs 87.02 crore or $12 million.

With Rs 9.25 crore, Harinder Takhar, the CEO of  Canada-based  Paytm Labs, is the single latest beneficiary of the fresh ESOP allotment followed by Jaskaran Singh Kapany who received stocks worth Rs 8.7 crore. Vikas Garg and Amit Veer have been allotted Rs 8.9 crore and Rs 7.8 crore worth stocks respectively.  

Kapany served as the head of marketing at Paytm between April 2015 to February 2021 and joined Xiaomi India as CMO earlier this month. While Garg is the chief financial officer of Paytm, Veer left the company in March 2021 and is currently serving as chief strategy officer at Rocket Internet.

Tushir Aggarwal and Akash Singh have received Rs 6.5 crore worth ESOP each, while Saurabh Gupta and 53 other employees have received the remaining stocks. Singh and Gupta are serving as vice president and Aggarwal is the associate vice president of the Noida-based company.

It’s worth noting that Paytm had added $62 million worth of shares in its ESOP pool in April 2021 and expanded its ESOP pool size to $604 million. The addition also made the company one of the largest in terms of ESOP pool size. As of October 2020, Oyo and Byju’s had an ESOP pool size of $580 million and $400 million, respectively.

This is the second ESOP allotment program by Paytm in 2021. In January, it had allotted stocks to 36 employees aggregating to $12 million.

The ongoing calendar year has been quite good for employees working in handsomely funded startups and unicorns. In the past five-six months, Swiggy, Licious, CRED, FarEye, Nykaa, Zetwerk, upGrad and Razorpay have also provided ESOP buyback or liquidity programs.

On June 7, Paytm announced that it received in-principle approval from its board to go ahead with its IPO plan.  According to the company, it aims to raise money by issuing fresh equity in the IPO, and also sell existing shareholders’ shares at the event

Importantly, Paytm’s employees will be allowed to sell their stake in the company.

Backed by the likes of SoftBank, Alibaba, Berkshire Hathaway and Elevation Capital, the Vijay Shekhar Sharma-led company is reportedly targeting its $3 billion IPO at a valuation of $25 billion to $30 billion.

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