Ant Group denies talks to sell stake in PaytmChina’s Ant Group has denied plans to sell its stake in payments company One97 Communications, which runs e-payments provider Paytm, amid political tensions between the two neighbours. Ant Group, formerly Ant Financial, is part of Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group.

On Wednesday, news wire Reuters reported that Ant was considering selling its 30% stake in Paytm, citing people with direct knowledge of the matter.

“The Reuters story is untrue,” Ant Group said on microblogging site Twitter. Ant Group’s stake in Paytm’s parent entity would be valued at about $5 billion, based on the $16 billion valuation ascribed to its business when the startup raised $1 billion in November 2019.

Paytm also said there was no truth to the report. “The information is absolutely false and misleading. There has been no discussion with any of our major shareholders ever, nor any plans, about selling their stake or becoming the controlling shareholder,” a Paytm spokesperson said.

Paytm competes with Google Pay, Walmart’s PhonePe and Amazon Pay in the digital payments segment – which include Unified Payments Interface, wallets, and merchant commerce. Its licensed Payments Bank entity competes with top banks and payment gateways in the card issuance business, and with Pine Labs in the offline merchant space.

Chinese technology giant Alibaba Group has re-evaluated its India portfolio after the Indian government said investments from countries sharing a land border with it will need prior approval, a move aimed at blocking potential takeovers from China.

In October, ET reported that Alibaba was in talks to exit its investment in BigBasket by selling its stake to the Tata Group. The deal is nearing closure, sources said. In June, food delivery app Zomato’s existing investor Info Edge said that the restaurant discovery platform was yet to receive $100 million of the $150 million it had raised from existing backer Ant.

Zomato has since then gone ahead and raised fresh capital from new investors including US hedge fund Luxor Capital and private equity firm Bow Wave Capital.

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