SoftBank missed out on getting a piece of Flipkart when its deal to acquire Snapdeal, the e-commerce firm which SoftBank backed in 2015, fell apart last month, but the Japanese tech giant has finally gotten there.
The Vision Fund is buying a mix of primary and secondary sales, but the size of the investment is not disclosed. All that both sides said is that the deal is the largest private investment in an India-based tech company, and that it makes the Vision Fund “one of the largest shareholders in Flipkart.”
Citing sources, India’s Economic Times reported that the deal is around the $2.5 billion mark. SoftBank and Flipkart both declined to comment.
Flipkart did say that the fresh injection leaves it with over $4 billion on its balance sheet. That’s a pretty handy arsenal for battling Amazon’s India unit, which CEO Jeff Bezos has committed to continuing to fund after already injecting some $5 billion to date. This extension also adds SoftBank, a major global influencer, to the already-stellar names of Microsoft, Tencent and eBay which participated in Flipkart’s April funding round.
That deal was a record Indian investment at the time, so SoftBank is spending at least $1.5 billion this time around. It could well be more — much more. Bloomberg reported at the end of July that the two sides were in talks over a potential $2 billion investment and now Economic Times is saying it is higher still.
“India is a land of vast opportunity. We want to support innovative companies that are clear winners in India because they are best positioned to leverage technology and help people lead better lives. As the pioneers in Indian e-commerce, Flipkart is doing that every day,” SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said in a statement.
Beyond press speculation, a deal seemed on the cards when Son admitted his interest in Flipkart at an investor meeting this week. He also went public with his intention to invest in Uber — another much-rumored deal — although he also admitted that SoftBank is studying a potential deal with Uber’s U.S. rival Lyft.
The Vision Fund announced an initial $93 billion close in May, but SoftBank is targeting a total close of $100 billion. The fund includes Apple, Qualcomm, UAE-based Mubadala Investment Company, Saudi Arabia’s PID public fund, Foxconn, and Foxconn-owned Sharp among its LP base. Early deals include ARM, Nvidia, Roivant Sciences, Improbable, Brain Corp, Plenty, SoFi and Guardant Health.
There are so many, we actually made a gallery.
One area the fund is not investing in ride-sharing companies. That’s been left to SoftBank itself, which owns stakes in Didi Chuxing (China), Ola (India), Grab (Southeast Asia) and 99 (Latin America).