Softbank denies participation in Vodafone-Idea merger

We underline that we have held no such discussions: Softbank

The Dollar Business Bureau 

After reports of Softbank's plan to buy into the Vodafone-Idea merger hit Indian new sites, the Japanese giant responded by calling the media reports 'unsubstantiated' and 'baseless'. Dismissing the news of its involvement in the telecom merger, Softbank denied any participation. 

"We would like to categorically deny SoftBank's participation in the alleged Vodafone-Idea Cellular merger in India. We underline that we have held no such discussions and media reports about the same are baseless and unsubstantiated," Softbank said in a written statement. 

The telecom firm from Tokoyo, which has aggressively invested in tech ventures all over the world, following the e-commerce boom in 2000s, also has investments worth $2 billion in India. Snapdeal, India's highly discounted e-retailer; Ola, a cab service provider; Oyo, a new player in hospitality industry providing hotel stays;, a property finder and Grofers, an online platform for delivery of grocery and vegetables are some of its big bets in India. However, the $627 million bet on Snapdeal and $210 million in Ola has suffered huge losses, owing to severe competition from Amazon and Uber respectively. Recently, the investor had written off $475 million in the value of its Snapdeal and Ola holdings. 

In 2016, Softbank said that it saw immense potential in India and expects its investments in the country to reach $10 billion in the next decade. The Japanese investor also pumped over $350 million in India's solar energy. 

Outside of India, Softbank has made headlines for taking huge stake in many renowned tech and e-commerce firms like Alibaba, Yahoo Japan, Sprint and SoFi. In October 2016, founder Masayoshi Son announced an ambitious $100 billion fund for future investments in promising tech companies. Going by its aggressive tech funding strategy, Japan's largest telecom service provider is on the road to fuel the Google and Facebook of next generation. 

The Dollar Business Bureau - Feb 24, 2017 12:00 IST