Son from SoftBank hails ‘golden eggs’ as Vision Fund recovers By Reuters

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2/2 © Reuters. SoftBank Corp logo appears at press conference in Tokyo 2/2

By Sam Nussey and Tim Kelly TOKYO (Reuters) – SoftBank Group Corp’s Vision Fund unit posted third-quarter earnings of 844 billion yen ($ 8 billion) on Monday, as Chief Executive Masayoshi Son hailed the rebound in his investment portfolio. The gain marks a sea change from the previous year when high-profile failures – such as the failed IPO of shared office company WeWork and the COVID-19 pandemic – forced Son to sell assets to stabilize its investment empire. “Our vision never changed,” Son said at a press conference in Tokyo after his company announced its latest results. But with interest rates at an all-time low, a lush market is now driving earnings from tech stocks and a change in the Vision Fund unit. Son went back to a preferred analogy: that SoftBank is a golden goose by backing fast-growing companies like Alibaba (NYSE :). “Golden eggs are not produced by chance,” Son said. Opendoor, the home sales platform of the Softbank-backed firms, and food delivery app operator Doordash went public during the quarter. Softbank (OTC 🙂 said unrealized earnings on Doordash amounted to $ 10.7 billion. Almost half of the portfolio of the first Vision Fund, which includes a stake in Uber Technologies (NYSE :), went public in late December, offering liquidity to fund sponsors that include sovereign wealth funds from Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. The Vision Fund’s 82 investments of $ 100 billion were valued at $ 90 billion, compared to its purchase price of $ 76.3 billion. The fund has also posted gross earnings of $ 20.4 billion since its inception. Vision Fund 2’s 26 investments were valued at $ 9.3 billion compared to its purchase price of $ 4.3 billion. The fund’s portfolio companies held 28 funding rounds during 2020, nearly all led by investors in addition to SoftBank, reflecting the appetite for tech startups. “You wouldn’t say the Vision Fund is laying bad eggs,” Son said. Softbank’s business unit, SB Northstar, disclosed holdings in listed technology stocks, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, worth $ 22 billion at the end of December. It posted a 169.8 billion yen loss on its investments during the quarter. During the third quarter, Softbank Group’s net income soared more than 20 times to 1.17 trillion yen ($ 11.09 billion). That compared to an estimate of 171 billion yen from four analysts surveyed by Refinitiv SmartEstimate. ($ 1 = 105.5000 yen)

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