SoftBank eyes new Vision Fund as spending continues - Mobile World Live

SoftBank eyes new Vision Fund as spending continues

07 FEB 2019

SoftBank splashed almost half of its $98.6 billion Vision Fund in the first 18 months of operation, as CEO Masayoshi Son eyes the creation of a second massive investment pot.

On a call to discuss the company’s earnings in the opening nine months of its fiscal year (to end-December 2018), Son noted although the fund was not yet exhausted, “at a certain point we need to seek another round.”

The company has made 49 individual investments using the fund, with the number reaching 71 when including investments pending regulatory approval and those where stakes have been transferred directly from other Softbank divisions.

Its total committed or spent so far is $45.5 billion, with stakes acquired in Uber, Grab, Paytm, Slack and SoftBank-owned Arm. It has also bought and subsequently sold stakes in graphics chip company Nvidia and e-commerce company Flipkart.

When it announced the fund in October 2016, the company planned to attract $100 billion in investment. By May 2017 it had reached $93 billion having gained cash from a number of investors, but was still $1.3 billion shy of its target as of end-December 2018.

However, Son has repeatedly stated it still believes it can reach its goal and subsequently launch further $100 billion funds.

Earnings
SoftBank’s net income over the nine months was up 52 per cent year-on-year to JPY1.5 trillion ($13.6 billion). However, Son described this figure as “almost meaningless” adding the focus should be on the progress of its Vision Fund and future investments.

“Net income, 52 per cent increase, but some come from the one-time gain for last fiscal year, this fiscal year and so on,” Son said. “So I think this is another number [along with net sales] which is not too important for me.”

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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