SoftBank completely exits PB Fintech, earns $650-mn returns: Report

Japanese investor SoftBank has fully sold its stake in PB Fintech, the parent of insurance marketplace PolicyBazaar, a report said on Wednesday. SoftBank had invested close to $200 million in PB Fintech during its initial days. SoftBank has earned approximately $650 million in returns on its total investment in the Gurgaon-based insurance aggregator, the Economic Times reported.

In December 2023, SoftBank sold a 2.5 per cent stake in PolicyBazaar’s parent firm PB Fintech for Rs 914 crore through open market transactions.

SoftBank’s arm Svf Python II (Cayman) offloaded a total of 1,14,21,212 shares in 10 tranches, amounting to 2.54 per cent, in PB Fintech, as per the block deal data available with the BSE. The shares were sold at an average price of Rs 800.05 apiece, taking the aggregate deal value to Rs 913.75 crore. 

HDFC Mutual Fund (MF), Mirae Asset MF, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, Societe Generale, Capital Group, The Master Trust Bank of Japan, Government Pension Fund Global, Goldman Sachs, and China’s Best Investment Corporation, among others, were the buyers of the shares. 

After the December sell-off, SoftBank’s shareholding declined to 1.85 per cent from 4.39 per cent stake in PB Fintech. In October 2023, Softbank pared a 2.5 per cent stake in PB Fintech for Rs 871 crore.

In December 2022, SoftBank through its affiliates offloaded 5.1 per cent stake in Policybazaar for Rs 1,043 crore.

SoftBank had invested a total of $2.3-2.4 billion in four new-age companies — Paytm, Zomato, PB Fintech and Delhivery — that went public in 2021 and 2022.

Co-founded by Yashish Dahiya and Alok Bansal in 2008, PB Fintech operates online insurance platform Policybazaar and credit comparison portal Paisabazaar. It made its public market debut in November 2021.

SoftBank had invested a total of $2.3-2.4 billion in four new-age companies — Paytm, Zomato, PB Fintech and Delhivery — that went public in 2021 and 2022. 

Shares of PB Fintech closed at Rs 879.15, down by 0.11 per cent on January 17.

SoftBank has been gradually paring stakes in the tech firms, including Paytm, Delhivery and Zomato. In December 2023, SoftBank also pulled out of Zomato. It had invested in Zomato when the food delivery platform acquired Blinkit in 2022.

SoftBank still holds around 12% in Delivery. Earlier, it had earned around $200 million from paring its stake. It had invested a total of about $380 million in the Gurugram-based company at the time of investment. Currently, it still holds a stake worth $400-450 million.

SoftBank has made investments in nearly 20% of the 100 unicorns in India. The company has a total investment of $15 billion in the country, with $11 billion coming from SoftBank Vision Fund. The remaining $4 billion has been invested in sectors like renewable energy and infrastructure.

SoftBank currently holds the largest stake in Ola Electric and FirstCry. In December, both companies submitted draft papers for their upcoming initial public offerings. 

While Ola Electric is looking for a $7-8 billion listing valuation in its IPO, FirstCry is looking at a $4 billion valuation. At these valuations, SoftBank is expected to sell stakes worth approximately $180 million in FirstCry and $45-50 million in Ola Electric.

As per the draft IPO documents, SoftBank is planning to sell 23.8 million shares in Ola Electric, which is almost 0.65% stake. In FirstCry, it is planning to offload 20.3 million shares, or a 4.5% stake.

After the IPO, SoftBank is expected to retain ownership of stakes valued at approximately $840-850 million in FirstCry and $1.4-1.6 billion in Ola Electric. These values are based on the IPO valuations.

Also read: Top IPOs to watch in 2024: Swiggy, Firstcry, Ola Electric, Oyo, Portea Medical & more

Also read: IPO-bound Ola Electric first electric two-wheeler firm to get PLI nod, claim reports

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