SoftBank Invests $627M In Snapdeal, India’s Equivalent To Alibaba

Snapdeal-LogoFollowing on from its $250M investment in Legendary Entertainment, as well as acquisitions of video streaming service DramaFever and wireless provider Sprint, SoftBank is now going after India’s e-commerce business. In a move that further consolidates the Japanese company’s efforts to become a global media and Internet player, its chief exec, Masayoshi Son, today unveiled an ambitious $10B investment strategy that includes the purchase of a $627M stake in fast-growing online marketplace Snapdeal.

Founded in 2010 by Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, Snapdeal has become the fastest-growing and largest online marketplace in India, with over 25M registered users and more than 50,000 business sellers.

India has the world’s third-largest Internet user base but remains relatively underserved by online commerce. “That situation means India has, with better, faster and cheaper Internet access, a big growth potential,” says SoftBank vice chairman Nikesh Arora, who will join Snapdeal’s board.

Snapdeal has already begun earning comparisons to China’s Alibaba, which scored a record-breaking IPO in September this year. Alibaba is currently valued at more than $240B.

In a separate deal, SoftBank also announced it will lead a $210M investment round with existing investors in ANI Technologies, which owns a mobile application for taxi bookings that competes with the likes of Uber.

SoftBank has been on an acquisitions spree of late, following the recruitment this past July of Arora, Google’s top sales executive. Since joining to run its media and Internet operations, Arora has overseen the company’s investment in Legendary and the Drama Fever and Sprint acquisitions.

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