SoftBank increases marketing capacities through investment in ADA, Axiata’s AI and data marketing company

The malaysian Axiata Group Berhad’s subsidiary ADA (held by Axiata Digital Services) today announced an alliance with SoftBank Corp. (SoftBank). Under the agreement, SoftBank will invest approximately RM250 million ($60 million) in ADA with the ambition to expand and accelerate the Group’s analytics, data and AI digital marketing business in the region.

Following the investment, SoftBank will hold 23.07% shareholding of ADA, establishing ADA’s valuation at RM1.07Bn ($260 million). Axiata Digital Services remains the majority shareholder of ADA with a 63.47% capital stake.
Daichi Nozaki, SoftBank Vice President and Head of the Enterprise Business Unit’s Global Business Division, will join the ADA board in mid-May 2021.

Srinivas gattamneni_ADA_CEO_vertical
Srinivas Gattamneni(CEO, ADA). ©ADA

ADA’s Chief Executive Officer, Srinivas Gattamneni added: “The post-Covid norm is a ‘digital-first’ economy, which ADA has been successfully building towards. We are very excited to partner with SoftBank as a valuable ally in our next phase of growth.

The capital and business alliance with SoftBank will further propel ADA’s digital, analytics and marketing solutions to benefit our customers.”

Axiata Digital Advertising Sdn. Bhd. (“ADA”) is a Kuala Lumpur-based data and AI company that offers integrated digital marketing solutions in nine Asian countries (Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and South Korea).

Based on its Beyond Carrier strategy, SoftBank is expanding beyond the traditional telecommunications carrier business by providing innovative services across a wide range of industry sectors and focusing on digital transformation (DX) initiatives by co-creating with partner companies.

This alliance with ADA will promote SoftBank’s Beyond Japan initiative for business expansion abroad.

ADA offers a wide range of services in the digital marketing field, and by combining them with the diversified solutions and technologies of SoftBank and its group companies, both companies expect to generate significant synergies.

A winning partnership for Softbank

Ken Miyauchi_ Representative Director and Chaiman of SoftBank Corp
Ken Miyauchi (Representative Director and Chaiman of SoftBank Corp). © SoftBank

SoftBank, a Fortune 500 telecommunications company with strong investment portfolio headquartered in Japan will establish ADA as its core digital and data marketing partner in Asia.
Softbank aims to leverage its network of portfolio companies in proposing and providing digital marketing solutions that incorporate ADA’s proprietary technologies and consumer AI models. This alliance also allows SoftBank to expand their footprint in the region by using its customer data platform (CDP), ‘Treasure Data’; and the consumer base of its communication app, ‘LINE to benefit brands and marketers.

SoftBank Corp. Representative Director & Chairman, Ken Miyauchi commented: “Since our public listing in 2018, we have been executing our Beyond Carrier growth strategy by expanding into new business areas outside our core telecom business. This alliance with ADA heralds a new theme in this growth strategy as it will enable us to deploy our digital marketing business outside Japan by leveraging ADA’s presence in Asia as a leading data and AI company. We look forward to collaborating closely with the ADA team so we can help companies in the Asia-Pacific region accelerate the digital transformation of their businesses.”

Through the alliance with ADA, SoftBank will utilize ADA’s sales and customer support structure, as well as its data and AI business expertise, to accelerate its digital marketing business across Asia.

SoftBank will also work with ADA to generate synergies with its own solutions and those provided by its group companies. In addition to other services, SoftBank offers the customer data platform “Treasure Data CDP,” and its group company LINE Corporation provides a varied lineup of services to enterprises.

In partnership with ADA, SoftBank will propose and provide solutions that incorporate ADA’s solutions and know-how to Asian companies in order to support their digital marketing activities.

A winning partnership for ADA

Dato’ Izzaddin Idris_Axiata_President and Group Chief Executive Officer_recortada
Dato’ Izzaddin Idris (President & Group Chief Executive Officer Axiata Group).
© Axiata Group.

ADA, which currently is the largest independent digital, analytics, and marketing company in nine countries across South and Southeast Asia, expects to benefit from the unlocking of significant global synergy opportunities.

Commenting on the partnership, Axiata’s President & Group Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Izzaddin Idris said: “We are delighted to welcome SoftBank as a business partner and co-shareholder to ADA. Now serving over 1300 clients in the region, ADA’s revenue tripled since its launch three years ago, recording positive EBITDA in the last two years. Together with our existing Sumitomo partnership, we can expect this strategic alliance to further fuel ADA’s growth momentum within the region as it unlocks synergistic opportunities that will form one of the pillars to deliver on Axiata’s Digital Champion ambition.”

“More brands than ever today in Asia are turning to data analytics and AI to differentiate their products and services in the highly competitive digital marketing industry. With this added business and capital boost, we are better placed to develop AI models for precision targeting, invest in content analytics, and establish data platforms to deliver insights and help businesses pivot for growth.”

Image over the headline.- Ada welcomes SoftBank. Image ©ADA. Composition © Eastwind

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