India Dealbook: Housing.com in deal talks with China’s SouFun; Baidu, Fosun eye investments in Indian startups

Photo: Freedigitalphotos.net, By: Nipitphand, Image ID: 100270185

At a time when Chinese companies are facing unfavourable business conditions at home, India’s burgeoning e-commerce market lures them with innumerable investment opportunities, particularly in the startup space.

Housing.com in talks with Chinese SouFun for strategic investment or buyout

Mumbai-based realty portal Housing.com has begun talks with Chinese real estate portal SouFun for either a strategic investment or buyout, according to a report in The Economic Times. SouFun executives will be in India early next week to meet the Housing.com team, the report said.

Japanese SoftBank group, which owns 32 per cent stake in Housing.com is expected to provide $30 million as a bridge round. Housing.com had raised investments worth $90 million led by SoftBank, along with Falcon Edge and other existing investors in December last year.

Housing.com was cofounded by Rahul Yadav and a dozen other students of IIT-Bombay. However, the company’s board unanimously agreed to bring Yadav’s tenure to a close in July this year citing that his behaviour was detrimental to the company.

At present, Housing.com is run by an executive committee that controls the finances and operations of the company. The committee is led by Jonathan Bullock, the SoftBank executive who replaced the investment firm’s president Nikesh Arora on board of Housing.

Housing.com is on a major expansion spree with plans to spread its wings globally too. The firm has raised four rounds of funding since its inception in 2012. Since then, it has also acquired three platforms in the realty space including real estate discussion forum Indian Real Estate Forum, risk assessment firm Realty BI, and cloud-based sales lifecycle management platform HomeBuy360.

China’s search engine Baidu, conglomerate Fosun scouting to invest in Indian startups

China’s largest search engine Baidu and one of the country’s biggest private conglomerates Fosun are scouting to invest in Indian startups to profit from the opportunities in the one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, said another report in The Economic Times.

Investment managers from both companies are in talks with Indian venture capitalists and startups for potential funding deals, the report said. Baidu and Fosun are not averse to looking beyond consumer internet space.

Nasdaq-listed Baidu is China’s most popular search engine and the world’s fourth most popular site after Google, Facebook and Youtube, with a market capitalisation of $52 billion (Rs 3.4 lakh crore). Fosun group, which has interests in steel, financial services and real estate, is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and has a market value of nearly $13 billion.

This is, however, not the first time that Chinese companies are showing interest in the Indian e-commerce space. Chinese e-commerce major Alibaba has already begun the process. The company along with Foxconn and Softbank, announced an investment of about $500 million in Indian online shopping portal Snapdeal last month.

According to data by digital research firm eMarketer, the Indian e-commerce market is one-eightieth of Chinese online sales of $426.26 billion. Alibaba accounts for 80 per cent of the total e-commerce in China.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.