(Yicai Global) July 26 -- SoftBank Group Corp. [TYO:9984] and Chinese car-haling service DiDi Chuxing, who just teamed up to back GrabTaxi Holdings Pte Ltd. to the tune of USD2 billion, may invest USD1 billion in bike-sharing firm Ofo Bicycle Co.
Ofo recently reshuffled its personnel as three Didi Chuxing senior executives joined the company. After the reorganization, Fu Qiang, general manager of Didi's High-Quality Riding Group, will serve as the chief executive of Ofo, and Nan Shan, director of DiDi's open platform, and Leslie Liu, DiDi's chief financial officer, will head Ofo's market and finance departments, respectively, Caijing.com.cn reported yesterday.
"Ofo is now preparing for financing and listing, so it is badly in need of managers with more experience and expensive platform," a DiDi was reported as saying. Ofo is in contact with SoftBank, and DiDi and SoftBank may invest USD1 billion in the bike-sharing group, the insider said.
It was previously reported that DiDi invested tens of millions of dollars in Ofo on September 26, 2016, and did so again in follow-up rounds of financing. DiDi is Ofo's largest shareholder and holds about a 30 percent stake. DiDi brought in USD5.5 billion in its sixth round of financing. USD5 billion of it came from SB China Venture Capital. DiDi's valuation reached USD50 billion after the round.
Beijing Mobike Technology Co., Ofo's biggest rival, completed its fifth round of financing last month. It was led by China Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd.[HK:0700]. SoftBank is the largest shareholder of China's e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. [NYSE: BABA].