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  • Date of publication: 31 August 2020
  • 2895
  • SoftBank's Vision Fund Invests $560 Million in Auto1 Group


    Used-car sales portal is Son’s first investment in Germany
    Auto1 seeks to use cash to expand fintech loan venture

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SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund will invest 460 million euros ($560 million) in Auto1 Group GmbH, valuing the German used-car sales portal at about 2.9 billion euros.

Auto1 will use the funds to introduce its service that helps private car owners sell their vehicles in new countries, expand a fintech venture that provides car dealerships with loans, and give its software to more auto dealers and even car manufacturers, co-Chief Executive Officer Hakan Koc said in an interview Monday.
“We’ve developed excellent relations with car manufacturers over the past 12 months,” Koc said by phone. “We’ve succeeded in building pan-European marketplaces and have the software for it, and it’s that kind of expertise these companies can use.”
SoftBank’s first major deal in Germany, the investment is among the largest so far in Berlin’s growing tech scene. Masterminded by SoftBank chief Masayoshi Son, the Vision Fund has taken stakes in scores of companies over the past year, including Uber Technologies Inc., Slack Technologies Inc. and Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing.
Auto1 bills itself as an online exchange for used cars, buying vehicles from individuals and selling them on to dealerships. The company last year raised 360 million euros from investors including Baillie Gifford & Co., Princeville Global and Target Global after reporting 2016 sales of 1.5 billion euros. Koc said he has no plans for M&A or an IPO, but won’t rule out anything down the road.

About half the investment will be made by issuing new shares, Auto1 said in a statement on Sunday. The Financial Times had earlier reported the size of the investment, saying the deal would give SoftBank control of about one-fifth of the company.