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SoftBank’s India portfolio widens by 9% to $14 billion

Japanese investor counts Flipkart among its 15 most valued firms, reports first profit after four quarters

SoftBank’s India portfolio widens by 9% to $14 billion
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

SoftBank’s India portfolio across its two vision funds have jumped by 9% to $13.8 billion as of December, the Japanese investor said in its earnings release for the nine months till 2023 end.

While its vision fund I accounted for $9.3 billion, the second vision fund accounted for $4.5 billion, the company’s earnings presentation showed, with Flipkart being among its top 15 most valued firms that also included Uber, Doordash, and ByteDance.

“We’re very pleased with our India portfolio. In fact, FirstCry and Ola Electric filed for a listing in December of 2023. OYO is also expected in the coming year or so to go public,” SoftBank Vision fund executive managing partner Navneet Govil said in an earnings call.

Responding to a query on postponing the  initial public offering, Govil said: “There is no rush, for all of our portfolio companies they will go public when the time is right and that means when they can give – they have the right controls in place, they have sustainable financial performance and they are either on the path to profitability or are already profitable. So that timing will depend on that.”

The Japanese firm is also scouting for opportunities in artificial intelligence (AI).

“We remain very focused on looking at opportunities in the AI space. But at the same time, we’re being very prudent about finding the right opportunities at the right valuations,” Govil said.

“So our focus is on AI investing across all AI verticals, but there’s a very high bar for investing. And we are also focused on unlocking our portfolio value,” he added.

The Japanese investor booked a profit after a gap of nearly four quarters.

SoftBank is among big-ticket investors in India, with stakes in retailer Flipkart, payments firm Paytm, hotels aggregator OYO, and food delivery platform Swiggy.

SoftBank Group sold a majority of its stake in Paytm before the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) scrutiny caused the fintech firm’s shares to dive, Bloomberg reported, citing Govil in a separate call.

The Masayoshi Son-led company has been offloading Paytm shares regularly since November 2022, an analysis of stock exchange filings showed. Last month, it held an about 5% stake in the payments firm.

RBI this month directed Paytm Payments Bank to stop its banking operations by the end of the month after a comprehensive system audit report and subsequent compliance validation report of the external auditors showed “persistent non-compliance and continued material supervisory concerns in the bank.”

In December, SoftBank’s venture capital fund, Singapore-based SVF Growth Ann, announced its exit from Indian food delivery platform Zomato. The stake sale involved a transaction of 93.6 million shares at a trade price of Rs120.5 per share, amounting to a total value of Rs1,127.51 core CNBCTV18 had reported, citing exchange data.

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