SoftBank's Reach In The Global Ridesharing Industry

SoftBank's Reach In The Global Ridesharing Industry

SoftBank has a stake in almost every major ride-sharing company, with investments totaling over $20 billion.

Uber, which is slated to go public this week, is sometimes seen as the biggest player in ride-sharing.

But as the map below shows, it’s actually SoftBank and the $100 billion Vision Fund it manages. It has a hand in almost every major ride-sharing market across the globe.

SoftBank chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son has been making deals in the ride-sharing space for years and now the Japanese conglomerate has a hand in almost every major ride-sharing company. SoftBank has investments in Uber, Didi Chuxing, Grab in Southeast Asia, Ola in India and 99 in Brazil (which was acquired by Didi in 2018).

In total these investments add up to almost $20 billion.

With these investments comes a lot of influence. One way of looking at is that SoftBank is brokering peace by bringing competitors together so they can share resources and technology.

But the investments also allow SoftBank to carve out regional winners through consolidation. For example, when SoftBank’s Vision Fund invested almost $8 billion in Uber, it got two board seats and the ability to implement corporate governance changes that altered Uber’s power dynamics. Following that investment, Uber retreated from Southeast Asia where it faced intense local competition from Grab. This made Grab the indisputable market leader in Southeast Asia.

The investment made SoftBank Uber’s largest investor, replacing VC firm Benchmark and co-founder Travis Kalanick. SoftBank currently has a 16.3 percent stake in Uber. When Uber goes public on Friday, SoftBank is set to be one of the biggest winners. In SoftBank’s FY 2018 results released Thursday, it reported that the value of its investment in Uber had increased by $3.8 billion (418 billion Yen).

Uber’s S-1 addresses the risk associated with SoftBank’s investments in ride-sharing competitors. Uber warms that SoftBank may choose to increase investment or make new investments or “enter into strategic transactions with competitors in the future.” That could allow those competitors to compete more effectively, Uber says.

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