Softbank bets big on Snapdeal, buys stake for USD 627 million

A day after announcing plansto invest USD 10 billion in India, Japanese telecom group SoftBank today bought a major stake in Snapdeal.com for USD 627 million to strengthen its presence in the growing online market in the country, as per a report in PTI.
Softbank bets big on Snapdeal, buys stake for USD 627 million

A day after announcing plansto invest USD 10 billion in India, Japanese telecom group SoftBank today bought a major stake in Snapdeal.com for USD 627 million to strengthen its presence in the growing online market in the country, as per a report in PTI.

SoftBank, which sells the iPhone in Japan, will become the largest shareholder in Snapdeal, India's third largest online marketplace with 25 million users and 50,000 businesses.

The Tokyo-based firm, which recently acquired Sprint in the US, is also pumping in USD 210 million (about Rs 1,260 crore) in taxi services firm Ola.

The investments come a day after SoftBank announced its plans to invest a whopping USD 10 billion in India in coming years, making the country its "top most priority".

SoftBank Chairman Masayoshi Son, who was an early investor in Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba, said he had the willingness to invest USD 10 billion in India in next 10 years as the nation was at a "turning point" in its development and is likely to grow strongly.

Its investment in SnapDeal is the largest investment made by a single investor in an e-commerce company in India. Other existing investors have also participated in this round of investment but the company declined to disclose the amount.

Snapdeal will use the investments in expanding its chain of fulfilment centres and make acquisitions in the coming few months, specifically in the area of mobile technology.

The city-based e-commerce firm, which has so far raised about USD 1 billion this year, is already eyeing 3-4 firms, especially those in mobile technology.

Its co-founder Kunal Bahl told PTI: "We are looking at acquisition opportunities across sizes, ranging from less than USD 1 million to USD 100 million."

Besides, Snapdeal will open a R&D centre in Bangalore with 500 engineers in the next two weeks to work on platform innovation and areas like mobility, payments and supply chain.

SoftBank said it will become New Delhi-based Snapdeal's biggest investor but did not specify the exact quantum of stake it has bought in India's third-biggest online marketplace.

In July this year, Snapdeal rival Flipkart had announced a USD 1 billion funding. A day later, world's largest e-tailer Amazon had said it will pump in USD 2 billion to bolster business in India.

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