SoftBank's stake in Coupang said to value firm at US$5b

[SEOUL] SoftBank Corp's investment in Coupang values the South Korean online retailer at about 5.5 trillion won (US$5 billion), according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

The valuation follows SoftBank's agreement to invest US$1 billion in Coupang, the person said, asking not to be identified because they aren't authorized to talk publicly. The deal will close at the start of July, SoftBank said in a statement Wednesday without disclosing a valuation.

SoftBank, led by billionaire Masayoshi Son, has been looking to replicate the success of its investment in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, which started with a US$20 million stake 15 years ago. That is now worth US$72 billion, helping Japan's second-richest man conclude deals with India's Snapdeal.com and Indonesia's Tokopedia.

"This is one of the ways to become the No. 1 Internet company in the world," said Tomoaki Kawasaki, an analyst at Iwai Cosmo Securities Co. "Consumption of e-commerce is increasing in the world, and SoftBank will make similar investments in other regions." The company, which is Japan's third-largest wireless carrier, will buy new shares issued by Coupang, said Mitsuhiro Kurano, a spokesman at SoftBank. The company declined to disclose the percentage of Coupang's shares it will own after the purchase. Coupang declined to comment on its valuation in an e-mail.

SoftBank fell 1.2 percent to 7,348 yen at the close in Tokyo on Thursday, compared with a 0.2 per cent gain in the benchmark Topix. The shares have risen 1.9 per cent this year, trailing the index's 19 per cent gain.

BLOOMBERG

BT is now on Telegram!

For daily updates on weekdays and specially selected content for the weekend. Subscribe to t.me/BizTimes