Business

Softbank to own 40% of FirstCry after a huge investment in the company

A baby smiling back

Softbank has a huge presence in India. Even after being a Japanese investment giant it has invested a lot of money in India. It looks for promising startups and literally tries to own them with their investments. The company has an aggressive strategy, it invests in bulk and all its investment have been in excess of $100 million. The company doesn’t believe in small investments and looks for bigger opportunities and that only. It has already invested as many as $7 billion in Indian startups. It is not stopping as it is going to go after Swiggy and Zomato if we believe the Japanese whispers.

That said, Softbank gained a lot of popularity in the tech world. That is because it tried to grab control over the ride-hailing company Ola by a different path. It already had a huge stake in the company which amassed to 26% and a percent more and it would gain decision-making rights. As soon as the company came to know this, they came in with another billion dollar investment to which Bhavish Aggarwal, founder of Ola said no.

In that case, Softbank’s strategy is always clear. They work towards owning a larger stake every moment. That said, it is back with another huge investment in another company in India. This time it is a sector which is not much exploited by companies. There are a few companies but not on the levels of which the Pune-based FirstCry are. FirstCry is a company which provides everything a baby needs on their platforms. It was founded in 2010 but has grown massively.

It has a base of about 4 million parents and operates in more than 300 stores in India which is spread across 125 cities. Before Softbank’s massive investment, it had raised a total of $100 million from various investors. There are some big names amongst the backers of FirstCry, there are names such as SAIF, Valiant Capital, Ratan Tata, Vertex Ventures and many more.

To add to that list, Softbank has made an investment which is worth $400 million around INR 2844 crore. This means that Softbank will own 40% of the company and the worth of the company will reach around $600-$700 million which is around INR 4267 crore-INR 4978 crores. There were reports that Softbank was going to invest in FirstCry but the amount was not heard anywhere. No one expected it to be this big but Softbank has pulled the right strings.

Morgan Stanley looked after the deal and will keep taking care of it until all the tranches of payment appear in the bank account of FirstCry. The Indian company also seems to be in talks with a lot of Chinese investors. Temasek Holdings, Tencent, the Chinese gaming company and also other investment firms. However, these are just reports and nothing concrete has come out yet.

-Unmesh Phule

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