SoftBank Group plans to transfer ride-hailing portfolio including Ola, Uber to Vision Fund


Masayoshi Son-led SoftBank is reportedly transferring its $20 billion worth portfolio of ride-hailing firms including Uber, Ola, Didi Chuxing, Grab and Brazil’s 99 to SoftBank Vision Fund.

The move is likely to create better synergies among the aforementioned companies with access to resources available with the $100 billion technology fund.

Citing sources, FT reports that the proposed transfer of stake will materialise within a few months. Following the restructuring, investment of SoftBank Vision Fund is slated to go up in app-based cab marketplaces.

Since Saudi Arabia’s state-owned sovereign wealth fund had independently invested $3.5 billion in Uber, SoftBank Vision Fund had maintained distance with the ride-hailing major even at the time when it invested about $8 billion in Uber.

Importantly, Saudi Arabia’s state-owned sovereign wealth fund is a major backer of Rajiv Mishra-led fund. While the shifting of shareholding to one unit to another inside a large group is not a concern for portfolio companies including Ola, the restructuring is anticipated to explore more synergies.

Exploring synergies may lead to Ola and Uber merger in India on the lines of the SEA where SoftBank called a truce between portfolio firms- Uber and Grab.

SoftBank $8 billion trysts in India

After leading $650 million round in Snapdeal in 2014, SoftBank dwarfed and outrun all global VCs and hedge funds by a thumping margin.

A year later in 2015, the Masayoshi Son-led investment conglomerate had participated in over $1.6 billion worth investment rounds in companies including Ola, Snapdeal, Grofers, and Oyo.

Son, who had committed to invest about $10 billion in 2015 over the next 10 years, seems in rush to surpass the committed investment figure as his firm sees many enticing opportunities.

According to a data by startup research and data analytics firm Tracxn, SoftBank Group along with SoftBank Vision Fund has parked over $8 billion in past three years.

The Japanese group had slowed down its investment activities in 2016, however, it had placed mega bets worth $4.2 billion in 2017. Last year, it had pumped-in $4 billion in two entities – Flipkart and Paytm.

Interestingly, SoftBank is willing to take an exit from Flipkart as Walmart is acquiring about 80 per cent of the Kalyan Krishnamurthy-led online marketplace.

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