"Casino-Like Frenzy May Be A Metaphor": Paytm CEO On Anand Mahindra's Tweet

''I understand that stock markets deserve good companies which bring wealth to the masses at large,'' said Mr Vijay Shekhar Sharma, CEO of Paytm after Anand Mahindra's tweet.

'Casino-Like Frenzy May Be A Metaphor': Paytm CEO On Anand Mahindra's Tweet

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Paytm Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

"Casino-like IPO frenzy may be a metaphor, I don't want to comment on it,'' said Paytm MD and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma in an exclusive interview to NDTV after Mr Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group shared on Twitter that Paytm's weak debut market could moderate ''the casino-like feeding frenzy for IPO listings and help restore the hunt for true value.''

Mr Mahindra's tweeted after Paytm's shares plunged as much as 28 per cent in a weak stock market debut today, a week after the digital payment company concluded the country's biggest-ever initial public offering (IPO).

In his tweet, Mr Mahindra added, ''my heart goes out to individual IPO investors who must be rattled but I'm sure Paytm will find its right level.''

The comment from the billionaire businessman comes at a time when people in India see casino-like gambling amid the ongoing IPO frenzy in the current fiscal, as a way to get rich quickly.

Acknowledging Mr Mahindra's comment on the IPO frenzy, Mr Vijay Shekhar Sharma stated that the market is witnessing a frenzy of all kinds of companies. ''We don't even know many of those companies and may not have even heard of, yet, many have delivered phenomenal results in their IPOs and market debuts,'' said Mr Sharma.

''But, I understand that stock markets deserve good companies which bring wealth to the masses at large,'' he added.

Despite the dip in Paytm shares on debut, the company seized a valuation of over Rs 1 lakh crore. However, several analysts pointed at Paytm's expensive valuations as the reason behind the fall in stock price in its first trading session.

On Paytm's profitability and valuation, Mr Sharma remains fairly confident in his business model, claiming that Paytm has a ''platform business model, not a one-line item business model''.

''We can't say we are just a payment business. We have a platform of business where each is in a different stage. Some businesses generate free cash, some are profitable, while some are in an investment phase - overall making it a company where we in investing in the future. The cost that we have to recover is the people cost,'' said Mr Sharma.

On Thursday, Paytm opened for trading at Rs 1,950 on the NSE, marking a decline of 9.3 per cent or Rs 200 from its issue price of Rs 2,150. The shares extended losses after opening as the stock fell as much as 28 per cent, from the issue price, to hit an intraday low of Rs 1,560. 

Paytm is backed by investors such as Jack Ma's Ant Group, Japan's SoftBank, and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, who diluted their stakes in the IPO. The IPO consisted of a fresh issue of Rs 8,300 crore and an offer for sale (OFS) by existing shareholders worth Rs 10,000 crore.

Overall, Paytm's Rs 18,300 crore IPO has been the biggest in the country's corporate history so far, breaking a record held by state-run Coal India, which raised Rs 15,000 crore - almost a decade ago.