SoftBank invests RM250 million into Axiata's data analytics subsidiary ADA

Axiata Group’s subsidiary ADA has formed an alliance with SoftBank, investing approximately RM250 million (US$60 million) in ADA 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 RM1.07 billion (US$260 million). Axiata Digital Services will remain the majority shareholder of ADA at 63.47%.

SoftBank will establish ADA as its core digital and data marketing partner in Asia. It 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 its footprint in the region by bringing its customer data platform Treasure Data; and the consumer base of its communication app LINE for the benefit of brands and marketers.

With this funding, ADA will continue its development of AI models, with primary focus on precision targeting for the marketing industry; invest in content analytics and automation of content creation; and also create data platforms to deliver consumer insights, predict consumer mindset, and help business decisioning.

Axiata’s president and group chief executive officer, 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.”

He added that 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, the company is 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.

SoftBank representative director & chairman, Ken Miyauchi said since its public listing in 2018, the company has been executing its “Beyond Carrier” growth strategy by expanding into new business areas outside the 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,” Miyauchi said.

ADA’s chief executive officer, Srinivas Gattamneni (pictured) 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.

Established in 2018, ADA has seen growth in its services in designing and executing integrated analytics, data, and AI digital marketing solutions, serving over 1,300 clients in the region. ADA’s differentiating factor lies in its proprietary technology IP in data processing, data ingestion, and consumer AI models; gleaned from 375 million consumer profiles on monthly basis.