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SoftBank appoints Lydia Bly Jett to Snapdeal’s board

04 April, 2017

SoftBank​ Group International’s Lydia Bly Jett has joined the board of home-grown e-commerce firm Snapdeal, media reports said on Tuesday citing company documents sourced by Tofler, a business research platform for Indian companies and startups.

An MBA from Stanford, Lydia has worked in various capacities at names including private equity firm M/C Partners, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, her LinkedIn profile shows.

The board appointed Jett as an additional director on March 30, the reports said, almost two months after SoftBank COO Jonathan Bullock resigned from the boards of both Snapdeal and Ola, SoftBank’s biggest investee companies in India.

Then, a company spokesperson had said that SoftBank​ Group International’s managing director Kabir Misra will be the primary lead on Snapdeal, and Bullock will work with Misra as as well as the Snapdeal leadership to avoid continuity challenges.

Emails​ sent to SoftBank and Snapdeal did not elicit a response at the time of writing this report.

Earlier this week, SoftBank reportedly pulled out of a $150-200 million debt-financing agreement in Snapdeal, reaffirming its intent to either effect a sale or merger of the Jasper Infotech Pvt. Ltd-run e-commerce firm.

It appears SoftBank has been pushing for a merger of Snapdeal with rival and market leader Flipkart to save it from going under completely. The Japanese Internet and telecom conglomerate has pumped in roughly $900 million into Snapdeal so far.

Snapdeal has also been in the news for clashes between its early investors Kalaari Capital and Nexus Venture Partners on one side, and SoftBank on the other. SoftBank has two seats on the company’s board while Kalaari and Nexus have one each. These clashes have already cost Snapdeal at least two funding rounds over the last six months, the Mint newspaper said last week.

In November last year, SoftBank marked down the value of its two flagship investments in India, Snapdeal and Ola, for the second time. However, it had said that portfolio company valuations are “driven by intricacies of accounting practices and currency fluctuations and should not necessarily be seen as a reflection of their performance”.

Snapdeal has been grappling with dwindling sales, mounting losses and massive layoffs. It has also been exploring a potential merger or sale with either Paytm or Flipkart, but the talks, it seems, are at the preliminary stage.

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SoftBank appoints Lydia Bly Jett to Snapdeal’s board

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