SoftBank Group Corp. (1) is exploring a mustering group of bidders for TikTok Indian assets. According to sources, the firm has been actively searching for local partners. It held talks with the heads of India’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. and Bharti Airtel Ltd about the same. SoftBank is a Japanese conglomerate, which owns a stake in TikTok’s Chinese parent ByteDance Ltd.
As per the reports, TikTok is also considering selling its operations in several countries after local governments ban the app. The government took action citing fears that sensitive user data was passing into the Chinese state’s hands. India has taken a peculiarly tough stance by banning 59 of China’s immense internet services in July, including TikTok. Notably, India was one of the largest markets for TikTok.
SoftBank Investments in the U.S.
In the U.S., President Donald Trump has threatened to ban TikTok for national security concerns and then ordered ByteDance to sell its asset. The Japanese firm also brought in Walmart Inc, as the main backer in a group of bidders. But the association fell apart after the Trump administration insisted a U.S. tech company to lead the investments.
According to a source, Centricus Asset Management Ltd., a frequent adviser to Softbank, teamed up with Triller Inc. It collaborated in a bid for TikTok operations in the U.S. and several other countries for 20 Billion USD.
SoftBank’s Previous Investments in India
SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son has been investing in India for long and has a deep network of local business connections. Some local startups backed by Son includes e-commerce provider Snapdeal.com, hotel-booking app Oyo Rooms, and ride-hailing service Ola Cabs.
In December, SoftBank spent USD 275 Million into eye-care provider Lenskart, minting India’s latest unicorn. The firm is also a part of solar power joint venture with Bharti Enterprises Pvt. And Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Co.
Son has been on a USD 42 Billion asset selling spree, discharging stakes in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., T-Mobile U.S. Inc., and SoftBank Corp. Son is also looking to list Arm Ltd., the chip design firm that he bought for USD 32 Billion.