“The one who will define the fortunes of the country,” said a teary-eyed Vijay Shekhar Sharma while explaining the phrase Bharat Bhagya Vidhata to his foreign shareholders. And immediately thereafter, he said: “Everyone at Paytm has actually done that,” while speaking ahead of the listing of Paytm shares on November 18. The shares listed and the outcome was underwhelming—in the first two days after listing, shares of Paytm lost nearly 37 per cent in value, then recovered 9.9 per cent to Rs 1,494.95 on November 23—the issue price was Rs 2,150. For Sharma, this might be a puny dent in his net worth as his Paytm shares were still worth around Rs 8,622 crore on November 23. While it may be too early to judge Sharma or Paytm, there is no doubt that the stock market is quite punishing and different from the private market where start-ups have attained unicorn status in a manner that defy traditional valuation and financial models. Market-men also have a funny bone. By end of listing day, memes about Sharma taking back the cashback his company has given over the years went viral on social media.
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