SoftBank's operating profit jumps on OYO and Uber valuation gains

SoftBank, which is one of the biggest start-up investors in the country, observed its operating profit for the year ended March raised by valuation gains from its investments in companies such as Indian hotel chain OYO and ride-hailing giant Uber.

The Japanese conglomerate’s full-year operating profit climbed 80.5 per cent due to the rising valuations of its tech investments. Its operating profit was 2.4 trillion yen ($21.84 billion) in the financial year ended March.

Masayoshi Son-led SoftBank’s Vision Fund has over $100 billion in committed capital for tech investments. SoftBank said the value of Vision Fund’s investments in 69 firms had increased to $72.3 billion by end-March, from their $60.1 billion acquisition cost, driven by gains at companies like OYO and Uber. For instance, SoftBank recorded a 154.2-billion yen valuation gain in OYO. Last year in September, SoftBank led a $1-billion fund infusion into OYO. The firm was founded in 2013 by Ritesh Agarwal, who was then aged 19.

In April, US-based Airbnb, which operates an online marketplace for hospitality services, invested $200 million in the OYO. 

The investment gave a major boost to Airbnb’s India operations and instant access to 10,000 OYO Homes properties. This month, it was reported that OYO is set to acquire Amsterdam-based vacation rental company @Leisure Group from Axel Springer for about ^370 million (Rs 2,885 crore), in one of the biggest acquisitions of a foreign firm by an Indian Unicorn. The transaction is expected to close by next month. It would help OYO to move a step closer to realising its vision of becoming a global real estate brand while maintaining leadership in the hospitality industry. 

OYO, which has raised a total of $1.7 billion in funding, now claims to be the world’s sixth-largest hotel chain operating from Tokyo to Texas. The company said it has footprints in more than 800 cities across 24 countries, including the UK, US, India, China, UAE, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.

Besides OYO, SoftBank’s Vision Fund has backed many companies in India, including Paytm, Policybazaar, Delhivery and Grofers.

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