After ploughing about $2 billion into minority stakes in Indian e-commerce businesses over the past few years, Japan’s SoftBank is upping the stakes, looking to play consolidator and take a more active role at a trio of leading start-ups.
According to sources with direct knowledge of the matter, the solar-to-tech conglomerate is seeking to secure a piece of India’s industry leaders in everything from payment systems to online shopping and groceries, in a series of deals that would shake up the $65 billion sector.
Among the most high-profile plans is SoftBank’s push to engineer a merger between Snapdeal, the No. 3 player in one of the world’s most competitive online markets and one of its biggest Indian investments to date, and market leader Flipkart.
The deal could be finalised as soon as next week, one of the sources said.
SoftBank has poured roughly $1 billion into Snapdeal since 2014, but competition in e-commerce has risen dramatically with U.S. giant Amazon cranking up its presence and taking the No. 2 spot from Snapdeal.
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