Bharti SoftBank has acquired a 36.5 per cent interest in ScoopWhoop, an Indian-based startup that collects entertainment content shared over social media networks.
According to TechCrunch, ScoopWhoop’s business model is similar to Buzzfeed and Upworthy and it claims 20 million monthly page views and more than eight million unique visitors per month across its website and mobile app. About half its traffic reportedly comes from smartphones.
SoftBank, which formed a joint venture with Bharti Enterprises in 2011 to invest in social media, gaming and e-commerce, has been extremely active recently in investing in India.
Last week it announced plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars across two Indian companies: a $627 million injection into India’s fastest growing and largest online marketplace Snapdeal, while the company will also “lead” a wider investment of $210 million in taxi-booking service Ola Cabs.
The Japanese operator also announced in early October it was forming a joint venture with Legendary Entertainment, the Hollywood studio, to use its content across various OTT/mobile platforms, to exploit Legendary’s TV shows and movies across its digital and mobile platforms.
In addition, SoftBank is investing $250 million in privately-held Legendary.
SoftBank isn’t the only major Asian operator looking to move beyond their core network business and acquire social media firms.
Last month SK Telecom acquired US-based shopping-loyalty app Shopkick for about $200 million. The acquisition is to be made via SK’s web services subsidiary, SK Planet, with Shopkick due to operate as an independent business.
Shopkick awards users points (kicks) for entering a store while using the app for scanning certain barcodes. Kicks can be redeemed for gift cards at retailers including Macy’s and Old Navy stores.
SK Telecom has said it will invest $500 million to $1 billion in US tech companies over the next three to five years.