Japanese conglomerate SoftBank has agreed to invest $561 million in Auto1, a Berlin-based online car dealer through Vision Fund, a $93 billion technology fund backed by the governments of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
The move - SoftBank’s first investment in Germany – will leave SoftBank with 20 percent of the business, which is valued at $3.54 billion. A funding round last year that raised $439 million valued the company at $3.05 billion.
"This gives us a bi lever when it comes to rolling out new products and services,” Auto1 co-chief executive and co-founder Hakan Koc was quoted as saying by the Financial Times.
According to the Financial Times, Koc and Auto1’s second founder, Christian Bertermann, will keep 30 percent of the company.
Auto1, which is the second most valued private start-up in Europe behind only Spotify, is an online marketplace for used cars. Founded in 2012, the company now has a presence in 30 countries, trades with over 35,000 partners and sells over 40,000 vehicles a month.
As part of the deal, Akshay Naheta, a partner at SoftBank International Advisors, will join Auto1’s board.
“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 $300 billion annually,” Naheta said in a statement.
SoftBank’s investment is its latest move to invest in transportation companies. Last month, it led a consortium that acquired a $9 billion stake in ride-hailing app company Uber.
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