News ECG: Next week, SoftBank Group Corp. founder Masayoshi Son will attend the wedding of Oyo founder Ritesh Agarwal alongside Asia’s richest man and India’s prime minister, marking an uncommon social outing for a billionaire with strong ties to the nation.
Its evidence of the Japanese tycoon’s ongoing ties to India, where SoftBank has poured billions of dollars into solar energy and entrepreneurs. Since 2015, the son of Oravel Stays Ltd., the company that owns Oyo and provides affordable lodging, has served as Agarwal’s mentor.
Son, an early Oyo investor, gave a personal guarantee in 2019 for Agarwal’s $2 billion loan from Japanese banks, enabling the younger entrepreneur to extend his ownership in Oyo to over a third. Yet, the son’s presence is complicating things for the New Delhi wedding celebration planners.
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Even in his hometown of Tokyo, the 65-year-old increasingly favors Zoom talks over in-person meetings, and he has been known to request Covid-negative testing from potential business partners. The weddings of India’s wealthy and upwardly mobile are lavish occasions with guest lists that frequently number in the hundreds.
Prices have periodically increased to tens of millions of dollars as a result of performing acts being brought in, like Beyoncé. At these events, there may be a mile-long line to meet the couple, with wait times of an hour or longer.
According to sources with knowledge of the situation, Son initially connected with colleagues like Rajeev Misra and Alok Sama at the wedding of Nikesh Arora, the former SoftBank president, who later led the company’s international growth through the Vision Fund and the acquisition of chip architect Arm Ltd.
It’s unclear how Son will welcome the pair to the event, but one individual speculated that he probably won’t do it in front of other people.
One report claims that Son will meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi alongside a Japanese business delegation and organize a roundtable for a group of entrepreneurs, including the creators of Paytm, FirstCry, and OfBusiness, all of which are funded by SoftBank’s multibillion-dollar Vision Fund. Moreover, Covid-negative test results are necessary for such meetings.
Mukesh Ambani, the chairman of Reliance and the richest man in Asia, is anticipated at the celebrations, along with executives from SoftBank and other Oyo investors including Airbnb Inc. and Lightspeed Commerce Ltd.
In contrast to a SoftBank representative who did not reply to a request for remarks through email, an Oyo spokesperson declined to comment on the guest list. The CEO of SoftBank received a chronic hepatitis diagnosis when he was young and has since taken good care of himself. Son-related “unforeseen occurrences” are identified by SoftBank as a key risk factor that could obstruct the company’s general operations in financial filings.
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