Online car dealer Auto1 announced that the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank has agreed to invest €460m in the company.
Auto1Group, the Berlin-based online car dealer said in a press release today that the deal will value the company at €2.9bn. Around half of the investment will be made through the issue of new shares.
The investment will be made through SoftBank’s Vision Fund and it will leave SoftBank with 20 percent stake in the business. The funding will lift Auto1’s status as the second most highly valued private startup in Europe, behind Spotify.
Akshay Naheta, a partner at SoftBank International Advisors, will be joining the Auto1 Group board, under the terms of the deal.
“Auto1 Group has built a fast growing, data-enabled platform introducing efficiency and transparency to the fragmented used car market, which is worth more than $300BN annually. The SoftBank Vision Fund’s capital and our operational expertise with marketplace businesses will support continued global growth,” said Akshay in a statement.
According to Auto1’s co-CEO, Hakan Koç, the funding will be used to fuel growth and the development of new products.
“We believe that the Fund’s deep investment and technology expertise will help us to accelerate our growth as we continue to focus on making the used vehicle market more efficient and transparent,” he said.
“This gives us a big lever when it comes to rolling out new products and services,” he told FT.
Auot1, which was founded in 2012, supplies used cars to buyers and dealers. The company has expanded itself to 30 countries, trading with more than 35,000 partners. It sells more than 40,000 cars per month. The company has raised €360m in its most recent funding round that took place in May, last year.
Although this is SoftBank’s first investment in Germany, it is definitely not the first that is focused on cars. Last Month, the SoftBank Vision Fund acquired a 14 percent stake in ride-hailing giant Uber, after buying shares from existing shareholders.
Vision Fund is a $93bn fund that was founded by SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son. The fund is backed by the governments of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, while it’s managed by SoftBank and Masayoshi Son who are investors in it too.
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