SoftBank chairman and president Masayoshi Son (pictured) vowed to switch his attention towards investment in high-growth companies, having previously dedicated 97 per cent of his time on its operations in the telecommunications sector.
Speaking at the company’s AGM, Son said he would place a specific focus on investing in “unicorn” companies – generally defined as start-ups which have achieved a valuation of over $1 billion.
“In the past ten years, I’ve been focusing on this telecoms business. Almost all my time and brain was allocated,” Son noted. By switching to a 97 per cent focus on investment, the company could achieve its ambitious growth plans, he explained.
One of the key elements to the company’s future strategy is the SoftBank Vision Fund (SVF), an investment vehicle announced in 2016 with numerous international backers. The company attracted $93 billion in funding, including the stake put in by SoftBank itself.
SVF holds stakes in 38 companies including SoftBank-owned chip technology company Arm, enterprise communications tool Slack, mobile payment provider Paytm and e-commerce challenger Flipkart.
Son said his new focus will help bring the company back to his original vision when he founded SoftBank in 1981 and fuel his well-publicised goal of 300 years of growth.
During the AGM, shareholders approved the appointment of three new EVPs to the board: Rajeev Misra, current CEO of the company overseeing the SVF; Katsunori Sago, who is in line to also become SoftBank’s CSO and head of investment on 1 July; and former Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, who is set to become the company’s COO and head of global business on the same date.