SoftBank Reports $350M Loss On Ola & Snapdeal In India

In its financial report for nine months ended December 2016, Japan’s SoftBank Corp. has reported a loss in excess of $350 million from its vast and diversified Indian portfolio, which includes significant stakes in Bangalore-based ANI Technologies and Gurgaon-based Jasper Infotech. While the former owns and operates the country’s largest transport aggregation service, Ola Cabs, the latter happens to be the parent company of the third-largest e-commerce outlet in the country - Snapdeal. In its earning statement released earlier today, the Japanese firm, which also owns a controlling stake in American telecom firm, Sprint, wrote off investments of 39.28 billion Yen ($350.1 million) in its Indian investments during the quarter, which is still lower than the $560 million loss it had booked in the country during the previous quarter.

SoftBank has been investing significant amounts of money in Indian startups over the past few years, but by all accounts, is yet to recoup any of its investments in the country until now. According to reports in the national media, the company led a $210 million private funding round in Ola and $627 million in Snapdeal back in 2014, although none of the parties involved in the deals made any official statements regarding the matter. The company has reportedly made further investments in the two startups since then, and overall, is believed to have invested almost $2 billion in the country thus far. Only last month, SoftBank’s CEO, Mr. Masayoshi Son, confirmed to the Indian media in Tokyo that the company will go ahead with its plans to invest over $10 billion in the country over the next decade, including, a $350 million investment in a solar energy project called SBG Cleantech.

Mr. Masayoshi Son has been bullish on India for a long time, and the resignation last year of SoftBank's then-president, Mr. Nikesh Arora, hasn’t done anything to curb his enthusiasm about the country’s fast-growing economy. In fact, the company has only made bigger and more aggressive investments in the country since the departure of Mr. Arora, including a $200 million investment for a 35 percent stake in a mobile-advertising firm called InMobi. SoftBank has also formed a joint venture called Bharti SoftBank with the Bharti Group, which owns and operates the country’s largest telecom company, Airtel. The JV has also invested heavily in several internet-related businesses, inlcuding mobile communications app Hike Messenger, hotel-booking app Oyo Rooms, real estate website Housing.com and online grocery retailer Grofers.

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Kishalaya Kundu

Senior Staff Writer
I've always been a tech buff and have been building my own PCs since as far back as I can remember. My first computer was a home-built desktop running MS-DOS on which I learnt to program in GW-BASIC and my interests apart from technology include automobiles and sports.
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