SoftBank Corp. will invest US$1 billion in South Korean online retailer Coupang as billionaire Masayoshi Son expands his overseas e-commerce business to tap new growth, Bloomberg News reported.
A unit of SoftBank will make the investment, which will close at the start of July, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement on Wednesday. Coupang is the largest standalone e-commerce company in South Korea, it said.
Son has said SoftBank is entering a global expansion stage. Last month it promoted Nikesh Arora to president to lead the push.
The company’s e-commerce investments already include Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., India’s Snapdeal.com and Yahoo Japan Corp.
The Japanese telecommunications and internet company will buy new shares issued by the Coupang, SoftBank spokesman Mitsuhiro Kurano said. It declined to disclose the percentage of Coupang’s shares it will own after the purchase.
Son has said he plans to take stakes of 30 to 40 percent in internet companies based in Asia as he seeks to follow up his success with Alibaba, an investment currently valued at about US$70 billion.
SoftBank already has stakes in about 1,300 companies, including about 32 percent of Alibaba, Bloomberg said.
Arora joined the board of Coupang last month and will continue to serve as a director, the company said.
Coupang raised US$300 million in funding in December, which increased its valuation to more than US$2 billion, a person familiar with the deal said at the time.
The company has more than 2,000 employees and offices in Korea, Shanghai, Seattle, Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, it said in December.
Mobile sales account for more than 75 percent of Coupang’s revenue.
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