Softbank Now Eyes on Buying TikTok’s India Business

  • The Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group is believed to be assembling a group of bidders for TikTok’s India assets and has been actively looking for local partners, according to people familiar with the matter.
  • Despite holding only a minor stake in ByteDance, SoftBank has held talks with the heads of India’s Reliance Jio Infocomm and Bharti Airtel.
  • The Chinese video-sharing app, TikTok, along with 58 other apps, had been banned in India earlier this year.
  • Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of SoftBank, has been on a $42 billion asset selling spree, offloading stakes in Alibaba Group, T-Mobile US, and SoftBank’s domestic telecom unit, SoftBank Corp.

The Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group is believed to be assembling a group of bidders for TikTok’s India assets and has been actively looking for local partners, according to people familiar with the matter.

Over the past month, the Japanese conglomerate, which owns a minority stake in TikTok’s Chinese parent ByteDance, has held talks with the heads of India’s Reliance Jio Infocomm and Bharti Airtel, the people said, on condition of anonymity. While discussions have fizzled since SoftBank is still exploring options, according to the people.

Also read: PUBG Mobile Ban Hits Tencent Hard, Recorded Loss Of $14 Billion In Its Market Value

When asked, representatives for SoftBank, ByteDance, Reliance, and Bharti Airtel declined to comment.

It appears as if Softbank really wants in on buying TikTok. In the US also, the Japanese company brought in Walmart as the main investor in a group of bidders that also included Google parent Alphabet. This deal would reportedly have put Walmart as the lead buyer, with SoftBank and Alphabet acquiring minority stakes. 

However, the deal apparently fell through because the US administration reportedly wanted the lead buyer of TikTok to be a technology company so that user data could be stored in the US.

But the consortium fell apart after the Trump administration reportedly wanted the lead buyer of TikTok to be a technology company so that user data could be stored in the US.

Also read: Another Blow To China, PUBG Mobile Among 117 Additional Chinese Apps Blocked By The Indian Government

Centricus Asset Management, which is also a frequent adviser to SoftBank, teamed up with Triller in a bid for TikTok’s operations in the US and several other countries for $20 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Chinese video-sharing app, TikTok, along with 58 other apps, had been banned in India earlier this year.

Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of SoftBank, has been on a $42 billion asset selling spree, offloading stakes in Alibaba Group, T-Mobile US, and SoftBank’s domestic telecom unit, SoftBank Corp.

Notably, SoftBank has invested over $10 Bn in over 15 Indian startups like Delhivery, FirstCry, Grofers, Ola, Ola Electric, Hike, OYO, Paytm, Housing.com, and PolicyBazaar. The company also invested $231 Mn in Lenskart from SoftBank Vision Fund II.

Before the ban, India was one of TikTok’s largest markets, with more than 200 million users.

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