The visit is significant for SoftBank, which has been facing losses from its Vision Fund, and comes on the back of a series of stake offloads across listed firms
SoftBank founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Masayoshi Son is planning to visit India next week, marking one of his first overseas trips since Covid-19 travel restrictions were lifted globally, according to the Economics Times. During his day-long visit to New Delhi, Son is expected to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss collaboration on India’s sustainability goals.
He will also hold talks with government officials and CEOs of SoftBank’s portfolio firms in the country. This is significant for SoftBank, which has been facing losses from its $100 billion Vision Fund, battered by a decline in tech valuations globally, rising interest rates, and geopolitical concerns.
SoftBank is among the biggest foreign investors in India’s tech and start-up sector, deploying $15 billion in the past decade. It made early bets on companies such as Ola, Oyo, Paytm, Snapdeal and Flipkart, while Lenskart, Firstcry, Meesho, Unacademy, OfBusiness and Delhivery are among its newer investments. The visit comes on the back of a major rejig in SoftBank Vision Fund's leadership team and job cuts in the past year, as the Japanese conglomerate has scaled back its investments to offset losses.
SoftBank recently sold a 3.85 per cent stake in Gurugram-based Delhivery for Rs 954 crore ($128 million) through bulk deals. This marks the latest in a series of stake offloads across listed firms like Delhivery, Paytm and Policybazaar. SoftBank is the largest public stakeholder in Delhivery, holding an 18.42 per cent stake as of December 31, 2022 through its entity SVF Doorbell (Cayman) Ltd.
In a meeting in Tokyo last year, Modi and Son discussed SoftBank’s future participation in India’s technology, energy, finance and research and development sectors. SoftBank has been offloading stakes to counter losses after its Vision Fund’s portfolio was hit by the pandemic-led digital transformation spends, among other factors.
Earlier this year, Son announced Rajeev Misra, CEO of SB Investment Advisers, which manages SoftBank Vision Fund, will step down from his executive role at the technology fund. In August 2022, the fund’s managing partner and India head Sumer Juneja was given the additional responsibility of overseeing Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Marcelo Claure, SoftBank Group’s COO, also quit following a rift with Son over his salary, according to reports.