E-commerce: Snapdeal, Ola rack up $350 mn in losses for Japan’s Softbank

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Bengaluru | Published: February 9, 2017 5:38:14 AM

Japanese telecom and internet giant SoftBank has recognised a loss of $350 million from its investments in two marquee firms in India – Snapdeal and Ola - for the nine months ended December 31, 2016.

ANI and Jasper are the holding companies of Ola and Snapdeal respectively. (Reuters)ANI and Jasper are the holding companies of Ola and Snapdeal respectively. (Reuters)

Japanese telecom and internet giant SoftBank has recognised a loss of $350 million from its investments in two marquee firms in India – Snapdeal and Ola – for the nine months ended December 31, 2016.

At the end of December 2016, SoftBank recorded losses of 39,281 million Japanese yen ($350 million) as against a profit of 108,426 million Japanese yen ($968 million) in the comparable last year. ANI and Jasper are the holding companies of Ola and Snapdeal respectively.

In a filing following its quarterly results, SoftBank said, “Gain or loss arising from financial instruments at FVTPL comprises mainly of changes in fair value of preferred stock investment including embedded derivatives, such as ANI Technologies and Jasper Infotech Private Limited in India, designated as financial assets at FVTPL.”

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Prior to this, SoftBank also recognised a loss of $550 million from investments in Ola and Snapdeal for the six month period between April to September, 2016.

However, these losses should also be taken in the context of currency fluctuations and accounting norms while this may not reflect the actual performance of the companies.

Both the companies have been looking out to raise additional rounds of financing but it is understood that it has been bogged down due to valuations. Ola has been in the market to raise around $400-500 million but has not evinced the interest of the investors at the valuation of $5 billion. Similarly, Snapdeal is also looking to raise additional round of funding.

Softbank became the majority shareholder in Snapdeal when it invested $627 million in 2014. In August last year, Snapdeal raised $500 million in fresh funds largely from Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba Group, Foxconn Technology Group and existing investor Softbank Group.

Snapdeal last raised funds in February this year to the tune of $200 million led by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan of Canda. However, the e-commerce which is estimated to have an valuation of $6.5 billion has already ceded its number two position in the market to Amazon.

In fiercely competitive e-commerce market in India, Snapdeal has been locked in a three way battle with Flipkart and Amazon.

SoftBank has also been one of the key investor in taxi aggregator Ola, which is pitched in a strong fight with Uber. Ola also has been in the market for sometime now to raise fresh fund to the tune of around $500 million.

Ola is now faced with even more intense competition from Uber which has exited from the China operations and is concentrating all its resources in the Indian market.

SoftBank has been one of the bullish investors in Indian e-commerce and start-up segment. Besides Snapdeal and Ola, the other key investments done by this Japanese company are Oyo, Grofers, Inmobi, Hike Messenger and Housing.com.

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