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Edited Transcript of 9984.T earnings conference call or presentation 12-Feb-20 7:00am GMT

Q3 2020 SoftBank Group Corp Earnings Presentation

Tokyo Feb 14, 2020 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of SoftBank Group Corp earnings conference call or presentation Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at 7:00:00am GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Masayoshi Son

SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO

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Conference Call Participants

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* Naotaka Owada

* Ryo Igawa

* Takahiko Hyuga

* Toshihiro Yamada

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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[Interpreted] Welcome to SoftBank Group Corp. Earnings Results Announcement for the 9-Month Period Ended December 31, 2019.

First of all, we would like to introduce today's participants. On the front, from left, we have Mr. Masayoshi Son, Chairman and CEO; Yoshimitsu Goto, Senior Vice President and CFO; Kazuko Kimiwada, Senior Vice President and Head of Accounting Unit.

This meeting is live broadcast over the Internet and can be heard via telephone.

Now I would like to invite Mr. Son, Chairman and CEO, to present you the earnings results and business overview of SoftBank Group. Mr. Son, please.

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [2]

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[Interpreted] Hello, everyone. Good afternoon. My name is Son.

Just 3 months ago, which was also the earnings result, I mentioned that I learned a lesson. Maybe I said that over 20 times that I learned a lesson. So explaining the last quarter's results in one word, I will say the big negative results. After this tough winter, spring has come. That's something actually we felt by ourselves. That's how I feel today this morning. So now let me go into my presentation and also explain about our earnings.

This quarter, in one word, I would say tide is turning. How it turned or how is it turning, I will say 3 points, and let me go one by one.

First of all, about 6 years ago, it was a long history and long road, but finally, we are about to finalize and we are in the final stage of the merger between Sprint and T-Mobile. Last night, we won in court on our merger between T-Mobile and Sprint. Actually, 3 regulatory authority approval was necessary, which has already been provided. However, in -- several states has been asking for dismiss of the claim, but we were able to won, therefore, that we made a big progress on this matter, and we are stepping into the final stage of the merger. And share price in 1 day, about 70% surge in Sprint's share price. As you can see this slide, Sprint status has largely turned around.

And next, EBIT. Last quarter, I said that the big negative I mentioned in the result that the cost was basically due to the Vision Fund. In every quarter, several hundreds of billions yen in valuation gain was recorded. However, in the last quarter, it made a big negative figure. However, that's been making a turnaround quite largely. This is the December end situation. But in more detail, in Vision Fund, there are about 8 companies went public in the past 2 years since our investments start. In the past 2 years, 2 companies went public, which is already a great success from my understanding. But with these 8 companies, 7x, 0.9x, 2.5x actually multiple, these are the share price compared to what -- how much we have invested. And the total of gross investment costs, about USD 9.5 billion we've been invested, and we made about -- well, quite a big gross gain. But of course, at the last quarter was still a negative figure.

However, this morning, as of today, actually, in 1 -- past 1 month or so, $4.3 billion gross gain increased. Actually, the main cause was Uber. In the last quarter, it was a negative figure in Uber. However, for this morning, as of today's number, actually, that has been turned into positive. So that compared to what we have invested, the gain was in -- we have been able to receive the -- see the gain. So -- but in December -- for December end quarter, but not only that, 1 month later, we have about JPY 300 billion gain was already been made. Therefore, December Vision Fund situation was a negative JPY 970 billion to JPY 200 billion recovery was made but still the negative position. But as of today, since December to, to date, actually, it made about JPY 300 billion gain has been added. So effectively, Vision Fund has turned around to positive.

Other SoftBank Group overall consolidated base including Vision Fund, JPY 2.6 billion EBIT, which is return profit. In cumulative from first quarter to date, still some negative are recorded. However, on a quarterly basis, we've been able to recover -- return to profit. So that 30 -- JPY 300 billion to date, since December to date, about 1 month or so, but JPY 300 billion gain has been recorded. So effectively, we can say that we have turned around to positive.

And let me go into more details in consolidated results. Sales, net sales, as you can see on slide, EBIT, net income, all that you can see in graph, this is the slide. Net sales compared to last year, cumulative number-wise, it's below. Net income also positive, but still people may -- some people were concerned that SoftBank may go bankrupt. That comments time to time that they see. However, as a matter of fact, in the past 9 months, JPY 476 billion net income positive here. Therefore, bankruptcy, I don't think that we are in such a situation. And here, adding to here, JPY 300 billion in the last 1 month or so since December only from the listed securities, we were able to see the gain.

SoftBank Vision Fund is also making a big impact to our consolidated result, and we have invested in 88 companies in total. We are about to start Vision Fund 2, another 10 companies are what we are looking at for new investment opportunities. We are preparing for a pipeline if you will.

With regards to the investment results, 38 recorded positive, JPY 1.9 trillion; and negative, minus JPY 0.8 trillion. So all in all, we recorded JPY 1 trillion of gain. People often say that Vision Fund is failing but, as a matter of fact, as of the end of December, recorded JPY 1.0 trillion of gain. On top of that, JPY 300 billion has been recorded since then. So total, we invested in JPY 8.8 trillion, and we yielded JPY 1.3 trillion of gain. JPY 8.8 trillion investment and JPY 1.3 trillion of gain, so I think we are not bad.

It's been only 2 years since we lost a fund. And looking back, in the future, we would say that we started off a great start. I believe that in the future when we look back this achievement, we will say that we took off the good start. Some made a huge loss, including Uber, but most of them yielded a lot of gains, 2x, 3x and even more against the investment we made, they yielded a lot of gain.

But I think most people say that wait, you still have to addressing WeWork issue. So let me talk about WeWork. In the last 100 days, what we have seen, WeWork and the co-working market, which is growing rapidly, WeWork is running the business in a huge scale. In the past, there were some issues in their management. But with -- under the new management, they have developed a new 5-year growth plan. Also, they were able to fund new business plan. And also, they appointed a new leadership. As you can see, the market is a huge JPY 180 trillion. And in terms of co-working space, market is growing 15x. And WeWork has offices in 140 cities, and they have WeWork offices in 37 countries, and they are going to open buildings up to 1,000.

In the 5-year plan, they have set specific milestones and targets. Sometime within this year, they are aiming to achieve $1 billion of revenue per quarter. Next year, they want to turn EBITDA to positive. The year after, they want to turn it free cash flow positive. And in 2023, they want to achieve 1 million memberships. And in the last year of the 5-year plan, they want to have $1 billion of free cash flow. So they have specific targets in their 5-year plan.

So how much is needed to make that happen? Well, at this moment, they have about $1.2 billion of cash and cash equivalent as of December 31. And we had release restricted cash and secured facility as well as unsecured notes. Their available liquidity is $5.3 billion. So that's our funding situation.

So in the 5-year plan I made, when they went to -- they want to turn business into positive -- well, to break even, they would need $2.5 billion of free cash flow, which is this orange part on the graph. So after the cash needed to make it to breakeven, they should be able to have $2.8 billion of available liquidity post breakeven. Usually, companies like this will face a trouble in terms of cash management, but they have plenty of fund -- well, liquidity, $5.3 billion that is.

So with a new leadership team, SoftBank will work together with them to help them achieve our business plan. And WeWork, going forward, I believe that they're going to turn around the business. And as you can see on the slide, this picture is a man called Sandeep Mathrani. He is newly appointed Chief Executive Officer. He led turnaround of GGP out of bankruptcy. And they made -- he made -- actually, he helped making the enterprise value of this company to $42 billion. So Mathrani is the new CEO of WeWork. And with this plenty of liquidity and with WeWork position in the market, he believes that he'll be able to turn WeWork around.

So looking at domestic business now, which is going well steadily. SoftBank domestic business detailed numbers were already disclosed because it's a listed company. So revenue is going up; operating income, likewise, going up; net income, up. And they have built subscribers of smartphone. And SoftBank keeps increase both in revenue and profit in this Japanese domestic market, telecom market.

In Yahoo! Japan, since SoftBank consolidated the holding, they improved operating income. And also, the user number of PayPay is growing well. And market share-wise, PayPay is gaining ground. And I believe that PayPay is by far the #1 in the Japanese payment market.

In the group, Alibaba contributes most to our enterprise value. In Alibaba, as you can see, in China is absolutely #1 in e-commerce market. And they are still growing in revenue 41%. Also, net income-wise, they are growing 46%. And it's not ups and down, rather steadily they are growing big. Free cash flow, steady growth is seen. In 6 months, accumulative number of about JPY 0.9 trillion; or in 1 year, about JPY 2 trillion of free cash flow is made by Alibaba. So they are making plenty of free cash flow, so Alibaba's share price is not in a bubble. In fact, Alibaba's share price is justified by plenty of free cash flow. That's where Alibaba is at the moment. Alibaba in the past few years, actually they have made more than 2x -- actually, 3x increase in market cap.

And also, as I mentioned earlier in the beginning of my presentation, Sprint and T-Mobile. We've been having a very difficult time in the past. However, amount that we have invested are about JPY 2 trillion; and the current share price based on our ownership, [JPY 3.7 trillion]. So considering that, actually, that compared to what we have invested, we have made a certain gain from here in this investment. T-Mobile and Sprint won in court so actually got -- made a quite good -- find a good opportunity to tell us this news. And last night, just before the day of the earnings results announcement, we received this great news, so we are in a very happy situation. Of course, this merger has to be beneficial for the citizens of the United States so that we will pursue. And we believe that we'll be able to build 5G network and services with our technology and spectrum. In addition to that, with the merger with T-Mobile, we believe we will be able to take a good portion of each so that we will be able to solve the digital device situation and, at the same time, can provide the better service and lower prices for all Americans alternative to in-home broadband, and we'll be able to compete with those carriers with the 5G network, also creating the job nationwide. So these 5 points or benefits that we'll be able to make from this merger, that's something that we are expecting. And the court actually believed that these benefits -- or the -- our claim is true. So that's why we believe that we are able to won the situation.

I've been mentioning about the EBIT, sales, net income and so on. But when you look at shareholders' value, we, SoftBank Group, since we -- it became the group structure, a holding company, we are the investment -- the coinvestment company. That's how we've been transforming our business. And each business is -- each operating business, we have our operating companies which will focus on the operations. So domestic telecom for SoftBank Corp. or Sprint, Alibaba, so they have their own operating business. But the SoftBank Group Corp. is the strategic holding company for those. So that SoftBank Group Corp., majority of the asset that we have is the marketable securities or equity.

So the value of such equity, how much do we own? That's the question. And JPY 26 trillion we have that's as of September situation, which about 6 months ago. So as of September, JPY 26 trillion of the value of asset. In that moment net interest-bearing debt was JPY 5.5 trillion. The Sprint debt actually does -- may-- is -- have consolidated from the accounting point of view. As a matter of fact, this is nonrecourse to SoftBank Group, therefore, we don't have any obligation to repay. This is Sprint's debt, and Sprint has to repay. And that's something that I've been explaining. But still, because we consolidate their debt and we -- there are arguments that we should consolidate and count those debt, but with this great news that we heard last night, which is we are winning in court on merger between Sprint and T-Mobile, it is now clear that we'll be able to say that we will be able to end these arguments to include Sprint's debt into our accounting so that the net interest-bearing debt, what we have -- purely we have, which is JPY 5.5 trillion in SoftBank Group. So if we take that out, that will give you shareholder value. So September end last year, equity value of holdings less debt is the shareholder value. So in English, we call it shareholder value, and that's generally is used. But in Japan or the traditional business operation, shareholder value, the word of shareholder value is not commonly used because we don't have much of the history of M&A in Japan, and that's because we don't have long history of M&A in Japanese market. But in Europe and the U.S., shareholder value is something that are oftenly used. And the shareholder value here, which is about JPY 20 trillion. So just remember this number, shareholder value, asset less debt or other borrowings gives you JPY 20 trillion. And as of today, what happened, asset included JPY 1 trillion. From there, net interest-bearing debt, JPY 6 trillion, we'll take that out, then that gives you JPY 25 trillion. So out of the end of September until to date, in the past 4 months, about JPY 20 trillion of shareholder value increased to JPY 25 trillion. So we've just taken the borrowings out so that -- that's something close to net asset, which increased from JPY 20 trillion to JPY 25 trillion, so that means JPY 5 trillion increase from the end of September last year.

So asset value or the equity value we have, how much did ratio we should be maintaining, which I was -- I've been saying we should managing less than 25% in normal case. That's the -- our internal discipline that we've been keeping. And actually, we are 16% loan-to-value, which is very healthy and a sound status. So only 16% of loan out of our total value of assets, which is very healthy situations, out of 100, up to 25, that's the loan or borrowings that we should be managing. That's our internal discipline that we've been managing. And actually, this is within this scope. As I mentioned, 25 -- less than 25%, even in abnormal period, if there is any other Lehmann Brothers incident tomorrow, in such a situation, we're still up -- set up a threshold of 35% in such cases. And also, we would like to maintain cash position covering bond redemption for at least next 2 years and, in addition, secure sustainable distribution and dividend income from SoftBank Vision Fund and other subsidiaries. So those 3 are our financial policy and we've been operating our business.

And also as you saw in WeWork situation, we learned to listen a lot. And I mentioned we will not -- we will make no any investment -- risky -- provide any risky package. So that's another clear policy to put it into our internal disciplines.

So there are many policies that we've been making. But here, I want to show you one picture here. So for you, can you see it? What do you see? From your left-hand side, it looks like duck. From right-hand side, looks like rabbit. So for you, you may see both sides. So if I tell you, you may say, "Oh, that's true. You can look like a duck from left, look like rabbit from the right. So from your left, it looks like duck. From your right, in the same picture, same slide, but if you look at from right, it looks like rabbit.

And now why I'm presenting this slide. Looking from left, EBIT; looking from right, shareholder value. So the same, SoftBank, if you look at SoftBank from left, from accounting perspective, EBIT, often people say that a company's performance has to be presented in EBIT. Which is more important, EBIT or shareholder value? If you want to see performance of a company in the last 3, 4 months, should we look at the company from left or right? My conclusion is you should look at the company from the right. You should look at SoftBank if you want to know how SoftBank is performing, not from the left, you have to look at the SoftBank from the right. That's my message here.

So let me dig deeper, from the left, EBIT. So every quarter, Vision Fund has started yielding JPY 300 billion, JPY 400 billion of gain. And in the last quarter, minus JPY 225 billion of EBIT in terms of SoftBank Vision Fund. This was as of December end. As of now, since then, we have seen JPY 300 billion up.

So this is the quarter financial announcements. So you may say that you should show the number only minus 2 to 5. But I'm saying that since then, we have grown EBIT in terms of SoftBank Vision Fund by JPY 300 billion. And EBIT from SoftBank Group consolidated perspective now or as of December end, JPY 2.6 billion. But as of now, actually, we see positive JPY 300 billion. Whether it's a JPY 2.6 billion or JPY 300 billion, it's just a marginal error. Why? Because you should not look at EBIT from accounting perspective, but you should look at the shareholder value, how much gain or a loss the company recorded because we are investment company. So sales, for example, doesn't matter a lot from investment company perspective. You -- I'm sure some of you have invested in some securities or stocks. If you have shares, whether EBIT is important or revenue is important, let's say, you invested JPY 1 million and the debt was JPY 250,000, then net, JPY 750,000 -- excuse me, if you borrow JPY 250,000 to invest in JPY 1 million, so net of 750,000 is -- has it grown or decreased, that's important for you. In the last 4 months, since end of September to February, for the last 4 months, it grew by JPY 5 trillion. So if your asset grew by JPY 5 trillion in last 4 months, you must be very pleased. So usually, you have -- you don't see growth in the units of JPY 1 trillion. But anyway, we saw increase by JPY 5 trillion in the last 4 months. And after the debt, the net asset, as an investor, we saw growth from JPY 20 trillion to JPY 25 trillion. Why? Because value grew by JPY 5 trillion as a performance against investment. After debt, we have seen increase of asset by JPY 5 trillion. That's our performance record in the last 4 months. That's the most important performance measurement you should look at. Like I said, from left, you see a face of duck; from right, you see a face of rabbit.

From my perspective, SoftBank is not, again, operating company anymore. SoftBank is an investment company -- for SoftBank Group as an investment company, EBIT or revenue are irrelevant anymore. In fact, you can forget about those numbers. Because of those unnecessary numbers, if you will, SoftBank's value may look very complicating. Whether JPY 2.6 billion or JPY 5 trillion or JPY 300 billion or not, they don't matter a lot.

Why it's so different in the argument? Any of you? Uber share prices ups and downs, whether that has a direct impact on EBIT, Alibaba's share, ups and downs, whether it has a direct impact on SoftBank's EBIT. Any of you can understand? 100% sure? How many of you -- I'm sure that you are an expert. How many of you know how much impact those ups and downs of Alibaba's share and Uber's share impact on EBIT, SoftBank. Don't be shy. Let me ask you again: Uber share price to SoftBank, whether Uber share price goes up, whether you should count it as an EBIT as 100% and Alibaba's share price went up, let's say, and should we count Alibaba's share price as 100% EBIT to SoftBank, 50%, 100%, how much percent or not at all? How can you be sure? I mean anyone can be sure to answer my question. That's a huge issue if you don't understand because you are an expert. And in fact, it's not your fault. My fault, we were not able to explain clearly enough for you. But after my explanation, starting tomorrow, you should be able to see things differently.

So anybody raised a hand? Can you answer my question how much of the share price up of Uber or share price?

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Unidentified Participant, [3]

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[Interpreted] Uber, 100%; Alibaba, 0%.

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [4]

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[Interpreted] Yes, you're correct. You're correct. But I find a huge problem. There are about 100 people in this venue, and you are all experts, but only 1 person answered the question with confidence, and he was right. And nobody raised their hand because you were not sure.

So if there is any increase or decrease in Uber share price, that will be 100% recollected to our EBIT. Our ownership in Alibaba, if there is any ups and downs, even the penny will be reflected to our EBIT. From the accounting's point of view, that's the case, which is a correct accounting process. What is different with Uber, WeWork, Slack, Guardant? These companies, those were invested through SoftBank Vision Fund. SoftBank Vision Fund as an operating company, as -- investment as a core business, it's Vision Fund investments. So we, as the GP of SoftBank Vision Fund, we count this as EBIT. However, when it comes to Alibaba ownership, it's not invested through SoftBank Vision Fund, but it's invested from SoftBank Group directly or through our holding companies.

Effectively, we have direct investments in Alibaba. It's not the fund accounting here. Therefore, Alibaba share price, even they increase, but they were not counted in our EBIT. Once again, EBIT, JPY 2.6 billion does not increase -- include in Alibaba share increase. Actually, JPY 5 trillion increase in our shareholders' value, majority of it is coming from Alibaba, about JPY 4 trillion contribution to our shareholder value, which is not counted in -- even a penny in our EBIT.

So in the past 6 months -- 3 months or so, past 3 months, my friend told me, "Masa, are you okay? I'm your friend, on your side." So they are trying to comfort me, and many people came to me to say a word. Those who did not say anything, things that -- that's great. Maybe SoftBank is going to go bankrupt. So that's how I thought. So those skip-the-book people are there as well. But actually, in my mind, well, thank you for comforting me, but reality is that we have JPY 5 trillion, actually, even richer, JPY 5 trillion in more asset. If Alibaba is counted in our EBIT or if we, for example, Sprint's share price surge by 70% or so in last -- yesterday, if that is counted in our EBIT, that's going to make us even richer. And -- but that does not mean that I want to pursue EBIT numbers, so which -- that's fine, but it's only the accounting measure. Uber share price does reflect to our EBIT 100%. But on the other hand, Alibaba share price increase does not count to your EBIT, even a penny. As a result, if you look at SoftBank Group in EBIT. That may be misleading should you measure us in shareholder value. And I think as I show you the duck or rabbit picture, SoftBank future performance or the measure to see our performance is only looking at from right. Why don't you look at only shareholder value, whether this increased or not? That's the biggest and only indicator whether that our investment has increased or decreased compared to what we have invested in. Then from that sense, in the past 4 months, JPY 5 trillion increase, JPY 20 trillion has increased to JPY 25 trillion. So as an investment company, this is a great performance, I believe, and I'm so proud of it.

Our share price, only 1 day today, increased even more and now reaching to JPY 12 trillion market cap. So only 1 day today, 11% increase, so it's accounted for about JPY 12 trillion. The peak time was JPY 20 trillion or even more back in year 2000. But our shareholder value, as I mentioned earlier, SoftBank Group, one and only indicator -- performance indicator you should be looking at is our shareholder value. And that has been, without any fail, increasing in the past 20 years constantly. Almost past 20 years, constantly increasingly -- increasing our shareholder value exponentially. So as a shareholder, as effective asset, SoftBank Group's asset, it's not a plant, it's not real estate, it's almost -- a majority of them are marketable securities. And the marketable securities value, this borrowing is JPY 25 trillion. So per share basis, currently, JPY 5,751 closing price today of our share price, so I would say JPY 5,700. Per share basis, your value, security -- marketable securities, that gives you JPY 12,000, so about 52% discounted -- 52% discount. That's why activists recently has shown the interest of our share and actually make some coverage in newspapers and so on. But actually, our company share has not been properly valued yet, good or bad, but the shareholder value has been constantly increasing.

But the market view, it's so skeptical on us, that SoftBank may go bankrupt. Those kind of angle still there exists. But as I mentioned in the beginning of presentation, which is a summary of today's presentation, that tide is turning.

So today's earnings result announcement shows our tide's been turning. What's been changing? Three points: return profit and showing the great sign of it; shareholder value increased by JPY 5 trillion; and Sprint, which was the biggest concern we had, has now shown the great sign, and we are in the final stage to complete merger. So these 3 points, the one that I would say our SoftBank Group tide has turned, we will continuously pursue maximizing shareholder value. The foundation of the company, corporate philosophy is not only for our economical activities. Still, we're keen to pursue information revolution, happiness for everyone. That's still our corporate philosophy, and that's the only reason for us to run this business. But as a listed company, and we've been using the very precious money from investors so that we do have responsibilities to maximize shareholders value as a public company, that's another mission for us.

That's all for my presentation. Thank you very much for your attention.

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Questions and Answers

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Unidentified Company Representative, [1]

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[Interpreted] Now we would like to open the floor for questions. If you have any questions, please raise your hand and wait for the microphone. Please state your name -- begin your question by stating your name and affiliation. We would like to take up to 2 questions per person so that we can take questions from as many people as possible.

If you have any questions, please.

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Naotaka Owada, [2]

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[Interpreted] Owada from Nikkei Computer. Talking about 52% discount, and also you mentioned activist investment -- investor, actually, acquired SoftBank's shares. For SoftBank Group, what kind of benefits or challenges these could pose to SoftBank? If you could elaborate on that, your view, I wonder if they may ask you for changing the leadership or whether they have a big say or not.

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [3]

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[Interpreted] All shareholders are important for us as partners. Hopefully -- we would like all shareholders to give us open feedback. We are welcoming any feedback from shareholders for us to run the business better. So any feedback that helps us to run the business better, we are open. And as a shareholder, of course, all shareholders want their investment to grow. So whether silent shareholders or noisy shareholders -- in fact, I am the biggest shareholder of SoftBank, so I think we are all on the same boat, including myself. As shareholders of SoftBank, sometimes, there are disagreements, but any opinion is welcome from shareholders. And prominent shareholders are with us, and that's something that we are grateful for.

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Naotaka Owada, [4]

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[Interpreted] And second question is about SoftBank Vision Fund 2, and what -- could you give us a status of our funding?

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [5]

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[Interpreted] Well, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, so WeWork challenges and Uber challenges, for example, share prices went down since IPO of Uber, for example. Due to those unexpected events, we have caused a concern amongst potential investors of SoftBank Vision Fund 2. And again, we have received a lot of feedback from people. And we are actively engaging in discussion. And sooner rather than later, once our discussion is progressed, follow-on of Fund 1 should start. As of today, we have not stopped investment at all with SoftBank Group's fund, so we have keeping -- we keep investing in our businesses. Like I said earlier, we have several trillion of yen of cash and cash equivalents and less debt. We have asset worth JPY 25 trillion, so SoftBank Group has plenty of liquidity in various ways. So as a SoftBank Group, we can keep investing in businesses. And once potential partners are more comfortable, they will join us for new investment. I think there are a lot of options available.

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Unidentified Company Representative, [6]

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[Interpreted] Next question, please.

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Toshihiro Yamada, [7]

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[Interpreted] My name is Yamada from Toyo Newspaper. I have 2 questions. First of all, it's about Elliott. Elliott, back in 2004, they've been holding SoftBank's share. And the first time they met you when was that, the first meeting with you? And then my second question, Elliott, I believe, are making 3 requests. Have you made any response back to them? Buyback JPY 20 billion, increasing independent directors, SoftBank Vision Fund transparency and disclosure, those 3, can you respond?

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [8]

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[Interpreted] Management of Elliott and myself, direct meeting was about 2 weeks ago if I recall correctly. We made an open discussion and had a good discussion with them. Buyback, SoftBank has been doing several buybacks with large scale in the past few years. Whenever we have flexibility of capital, we have intention, in principle, to do a buyback, which is also matches to my intention as well. But how big and when is something different discussion because we are the bond issuer as well, and the bond rating has also needs to be considered as a balance. So that angle is also necessary to consider so that bond balance and the flexibility in position, both needs to be taking a good balance so that we can decide on the size and the timing. Time to time, that -- in principle, we would like to have a buyback which has the same direction that they have and I have.

Independent director, recently, Mr. Yanai, who has been almost 18 years who have been -- who has been serving as our director of SoftBank Group Corp., which I am very much grateful about, but he now would like to focus on his own business, and he has decided to step down from our Board. And we do need to consider shuffling our directors and also like to increase our independent directors as well. So regardless Elliott say anything or not, we ourselves actually been thinking, too. Now looking into the candidates for the nominee for our independent directors, which took place about 2 months ago and now starting the discussion, so for our general holders -- shareholders' meeting in June that we would like to nominate and ask for approval, which is also the same direction as Elliott has.

Vision Fund governance, for the transparency, as a third one you mentioned, of course, from our LPs or Vision Fund that we should make sure that we shouldn't make another failure like we did in failure at WeWork. And for governance, we've then tightened up and have a good management of governance on the Vision Fund. And also as for transparency, we would like to deepen our transparency as well. In principle, in U.K., this is the regulated company, regulated fund under U.K. law, so therefore, we, of course, follow all the rules and regulations for the fund operation. But also, we would like to add more efforts in enhanced governance and transparency. So in principle, activist investors or not activist investor, like passive investors, may have a similar type of concerns, but we would like to address sincerely.

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Unidentified Participant, [9]

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[Interpreted] [Watanabe], freelance reporter. About Yanai-san, I'm sure that Son-san and Yanai-san are personal friends, but all of a sudden, Yanai-san made announcement of leaving the Board. And Mr. Son, also you mentioned that Yanai-san was a great control. And after Yanai-san' gone, some people may concern that Mr. Son may go out of control. So after Yanai-san's retirement, corporate governance is kept or not? That's one question. And second, how do you think did Yanai-san made the decision? And after the retirement, what will happen in your relationship?

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [10]

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[Interpreted] Yanai-san has -- had been at our Board for over 10 years. And almost every Board meeting, he made a very strong comment, and we took it as healthy pressure, and we tried to address his feedback. And I respect him a lot. And we really appreciate Yanai-san's contribution to us for the last 10, 20 -- almost 20 years. Again, Yanai-san wants to focus on his own business, he said. And when I am running the business of SoftBank, I understand because I'll be too busy to serve as independent Board of Director at a different company.

As a friend, however, going forward, I believe that our relationship remains very important. And whether he is a Board member or not, I'm sure that he will stay as a good adviser to us. And also, we keep playing golf each other. And hopefully, he will give us continuously constructive feedback. Also, we can't rely too much on Yanai-san anymore, so like I said earlier, we want to enhance the governance going forward as well as consider increasing the number of independent directors.

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Unidentified Company Representative, [11]

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[Interpreted] Next question, please?

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Unidentified Participant, [12]

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[Interpreted] My name is [Onishi], journalist. So you showed us the rabbit and dog picture and the EBIT, we can forget about it. If that's the case, Masayoshi Son, yourself is not a businessman, but you are the investor. Can I regard you in that way? And I believe this announcement many people are watching right now. But if you say you can forget about EBIT, then those people who are working very hard in 5G development or they who are working very hard for the collaboration with Yahoo! line, they may be sad to hear that.

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [13]

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[Interpreted] That's completely misunderstood. The role is different. What I'm saying is role is different. Operating company people, I'm not saying that I myself, as a CEO of operating company, I've been served -- I've been serving operating company for over 30 years, and I've been directly managing operating business. And we do a lot of businesses in sales, EBIT, always looking at those numbers every day. And every day, we've been operating based on those numbers. So I don't deny those efforts at all. But it's not that the operating company is right and the investment company is wrong or we are pursuing the -- then that how do you call Mr. Buffett then? Mr. Buffett is also a great business person. And also, he has been -- many CEO of operating company is a great businessman, only the difference is the role. Which is better or which is right is not the question. So SoftBank Corp., to serve domestic telecom service and pursue sales, EBIT, daily basis, of course, that's something that they should be focusing on, same as Yahoo! Japan, Alibaba, Uber.

However, as a strategic investment company, we hold their securities and also direct or indirectly influencing managers -- management. But as a cluster of #1 strategy, 100, 200, 300 companies as a cluster, we would like to lead the information revolution. In the previous earnings results announcement, I'm not becoming the player myself, but I would like to be a conductor of the orchestra. That you may recall, either it was an AGM or earnings result announcement, I don't remember specifically, but in the kid's age, I didn't understand the importance of conductor, who doesn't play any instrument at all. But now I know and I understand it is very important and essential role that the conductor is serving, which I now realize. So those players who play instrument is also important, and I admire them. But at the same time, I would like to serve the different role. There is something equally important as players in SoftBank Group is now pursuing cluster of #1 strategy. And we are the one leading information revolution, so we have stepped up the stage now. And in the new stage, we would like to serve the new role that as an investment company, we transformed, that we should be looking at such measures. So that's how I want you to understand.

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Unidentified Participant, [14]

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[Interpreted] So you have changed from Bill Gates to Mr. Warren Buffett?

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [15]

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[Interpreted] Mr. Buffett and myself is a little bit different again in a way, but roughly speaking, that's -- you can call it that way, too. And that does not mean that which is better, which is right.

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Unidentified Participant, [16]

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[Interpreted] So if I write something to explain about you, should I say you as an investor, or should I call you as a businessman, business person?

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [17]

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[Interpreted] In one word, probably investor is the right word. But reality is not really true. I'm the information revolutioner -- I'm the one that leading information revolution. That's my main mission. I want to do the information revolution. SoftBank Group Corp. with the clusters, we would like to create information revolution. So to express, I think that I am the information revolution leader, so -- but the people may not understand. So in a general word-wise, interpret it into investor probably. That may be more easier for market to understand. In the past, about 20 years ago, I mean I visited Taiwan. A newspaper in Taiwan called me Masa Son is coming to Taiwan from Japan. And a big headline, adventurous investor, the character -- Chinese character I read, which is probably interpreted into venture capitalist. But probably that's quite true in a sense. Mr. Buffett is not an adventurous investor, he's a smart one, he's a smart investor. But I'm still making some -- some craziness are still there for me, so adventurous investor, I will say.

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Unidentified Participant, [18]

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[Interpreted] [Hagane] from Bloomberg News. You said that you are in line with Elliott Management in terms of share buyback. And I believe that Elliott expects you to sell Alibaba shares to buy back SBG's shares. So what's your position in terms of Alibaba's exit? Well, you should sell Alibaba's share or not?

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [19]

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[Interpreted] Well, every year, people will say that you should sell Alibaba's shares. Even SoftBank's management told me that we should sell Alibaba's shares even before IPO, but I kept saying that we don't want to sell Alibaba. Only minimum we would sell but not anymore. And looking back, the share price of Alibaba is 3x bigger than the price at which some people encouraged me to sell Alibaba's share, so it proves I have been right. But I'm not saying that we are not going to sell Alibaba's share anymore forever. But when, how many shares and how, there are lots of views, and we need to look at different views in a good balance. Alibaba's revenue has been growing 40% annually. Net income, free cash flow, annually, they are still growing close to 40%, like I said earlier in my presentation. For the next foreseeable future, I believe that Alibaba keeps that momentum, so I don't have intention to sell Alibaba's shares in a hurry. I'm not saying that we are not going to sell it at all, but we don't have to be rushed to sell Alibaba's shares. That's my position.

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Unidentified Participant, [20]

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[Interpreted] And Vision Fund. So if you not sell Alibaba's shares, do you have to sell -- you have to choose either SVF or buyback, whether in dividend or share buyback.

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [21]

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[Interpreted] Again, you need to look at different angles in a good balance. Timing and skills and methodology, you have to look at those in a balanced way. I am, again, the biggest shareholder of SoftBank Group. Naturally, I am interested in share price of SoftBank Group, and I hope that SoftBank Group's shareholder value grow. But methodology, I'd like anybody to leave it up to us with regards to how we run the business.

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Unidentified Company Representative, [22]

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[Interpreted] Then we'd would like to take the next question, please.

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Unidentified Participant, [23]

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[Interpreted] My name is [Iwa] from NHK. For today's announcement, you mentioned earlier that the tide is turning. And my first question is that in a previous announcement, you said that you learned a lesson, but you don't shy away. But the tide has turned means that you don't regulate anymore. You just become more aggressive. Is that what you mean?

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [24]

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[Interpreted] Daily, I learned a lesson a lot. Every day basis, I learned a lesson. But as I mentioned in the previous meeting, I don't shy away. I don't shy away from my vision, my strategy. No change on that at all. That's the thing that I mentioned in the previous quarter announcement. And same here, my vision, my strategy never changed at all. But also, we have strengths in company. Do we have a flexibility, or sometimes we got damage so that we may not have our flexibility? But for today, for this time quarter announcement, because of Sprint, T-Mobile merger in the final -- on the final stage and our investment portfolio starts showing good gains, so those are good news, and that it's interpreted into tides turning. So that's why that I believe we'll be able to be a proactive management of the business.

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Unidentified Participant, [25]

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[Interpreted] My second question, as an investment company that we need to regard you, but at the same time, even you forget about EBIT. But Vision Fund EBIT is something still or negative in cumulative way. In that, how do you think about it?

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [26]

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[Interpreted] In my previous presentation slide showed that about JPY 9 trillion investment has been made. And as of today, JPY 1.3 trillion gain has been recorded in Vision Fund. So Vision Fund is not a failure. In the past -- only 2 years has passed since its launch and making such a great performance. I believe that's very successful from the fund's point of view or as a fund business point of view. So I said I learned listen in the previous quarter, but I don't shy away. That's what I mean. Vision Fund performance compared to many funds around the world, actually, they are really one of the great performer of the fund, and I believe they will be making even better performance going forward. From my understanding, other than Vision Fund, actually, share of Alibaba, it's also one of our investment activity as well. So you may say investment in Alibaba, investment in Uber, what's different and how you may question that. For me, no any difference in between those 2. It's just that Uber, Vision Fund investments, that we are using partner's money, creating the expert team for investment, and they are conducting the investment activities. Before, we didn't have such vehicle. But from my mindset, investing in Yahoo! Inc., setting up the joint venture with Yahoo! Japan, investing in Alibaba, actually, all is the same in the past 20 years. What I've been doing is the same thing. So either that you see SoftBank has been operating company in the past and now transformed into surplus investment company, or you see SoftBank actually has been an investment company from the beginning when we start to see the dawn of the Internet. So some of the people may see us as an investment company from the time of the dawn of Internet. And both are right, and both are correct. I believe we do have operating business and aspect, also had an investment company's aspect as well. But in the past 2 years, as we launched SoftBank Vision Fund, operating business aspect has been given to each operating company's CEO and delegated to their own leadership. And me, myself and SoftBank Group management are now focusing on investment aspects. That's how we've been transforming. And as I mentioned earlier, that's not something right or wrong, but as a reality, we've been doing both aspects. And now that we are putting the gear more on investments, and that's the stage that we are entering into right now.

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Ryo Igawa, [27]

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[Interpreted] Igawa from Nikkei. Two questions. In the 3 months from October to December, what happened at Vision Fund? Still JPY 200 billion, in red. Uber is black, but why SoftBank Vision Fund is still JPY 200 billion? So what happened? What created negative numbers in 3 months since October beginning?

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [28]

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[Interpreted] So WeWork challenges and Uber share price went down, and we faced issues in Uber -- excuse me, WeWork. In the 3 months for -- from October to December, we, yes, indeed, recorded JPY 200 billion of negative numbers. But after that, we saw increase of JPY 300 billion yen again. And Vision Fund churn from a minus JPY 300 billion to plus JPY 100 billion, so cutover date, if you will, makes a difference in terms of performance view that the SoftBank Vision Fund has just started. And every quarter, ups and downs, so we don't have to be upset or happy about short-term gain or loss because it just started. Still, SoftBank Vision Fund invested JPY 8 trillion and gained JPY 1.3 trillion. That's the reality.

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Ryo Igawa, [29]

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[Interpreted] So my question actually is, Uber is not listed -- securities companies like Uber, but I wonder if there are companies not listed who recorded a loss.

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [30]

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[Interpreted] Like I said earlier, including unlisted companies, 30 companies recorded a gain, 30 companies recorded loss and all in all, we saw value increase. Can I show you a slide again? Again, almost 30 companies in the portfolio recorded a gain and 30 or so companies recorded a loss, including not listed companies. And all in all, we recorded JPY 1 trillion, in black, and JPY 300 billion, in black, and so cumulatively, we saw increase by JPY 1.3 trillion in terms of a gain.

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Ryo Igawa, [31]

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[Interpreted] So unicorn companies' IPO, what's your view?

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [32]

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[Interpreted] So could you speak a little bit louder?

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Ryo Igawa, [33]

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[Interpreted] Unicorn's IPO, so how many are you expecting unicorn companies to be listed?

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [34]

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[Interpreted] I don't know because, every year, how many companies will go public or not depends on how those companies perform. In the last 2 years, the fact was 8 companies went public. And going forward, several companies will go public going forward.

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Ryo Igawa, [35]

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[Interpreted] So your view stays the same?

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [36]

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[Interpreted] Yes, absolutely the same.

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Unidentified Company Representative, [37]

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Next question, please? Due to the time limitation, we would -- due to time constraint, we would like to end this session after taking 2 more questions.

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Unidentified Participant, [38]

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[Interpreted] [Yochi] from TV Tokyo. I would like to ask you about OYO. So business model of OYO, how do you value them? And also, several hotels are talking about the minimum guarantee and the issues are occurring? And do you see that that's a failure in Japanese market for OYO business? What is your -- or have you -- do you think that that's a failure?

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [39]

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[Interpreted] OYO is a great company, and the performance is steadily growing. Hotel owners is increasing every month's basis and worldwide, number of rooms, number of hotels and number of members. Number of people staying at the hotel is increasing rapidly. 20-some thousand hotels are already under OYO group or OYO franchised hotels, of which -- or out of those 20-some thousand hotels, sometimes we have some conflict with some hotel owners. That happens whenever you have such franchise business, always the franchisee and franchiser may have some conflict time to time, different opinions. You may need to coordinate and make a progress. And OYO is still the younger company so that sometimes see some conflict. Or in the process of their growth, they may need to change the menu and so on. That, of course, occurs. But continuously, as of today, number of hotels, number of memberships, number of people stayed are increasing constantly. That's the reality, and performance is making a good growth. That's how I see them.

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Unidentified Participant, [40]

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[Interpreted] Minimum guarantee, paid, unpaid, is that the issue for you?

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [41]

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[Interpreted] Some hotel owners had some different opinions with OYO side, that's what I heard, but that's also been -- having a full discussion with those owners. And we are about to solve all those issues, I believe.

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Unidentified Participant, [42]

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[Interpreted] [Deborah], Wall Street Journal. About Vision Fund, Vision Fund 1, 2, 3, it's like an investment machine being built, it looks. And organization is growing. You're hiring a lot of managers. SoftBank Vision Fund 2, if SoftBank Group end up fully funding SoftBank Vision Fund, I wonder if that kind of continuous investment vehicle -- investment machines continue to work. Or if you need external investor, by when you need to have an external investor for new Vision Fund?

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [43]

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[Interpreted] Like I mentioned in the presentation, less debt as a shareholder value, we have JPY 25 trillion worth of assets after debt or $23 billion.

$23 billion worth of shareholders' asset value, so we can make investment by ourself. But we have partners who want to work with us. So we would like to be flexible to both approach.

Interpreted Sorry, I spoke in English. So let me repeat in Japanese. Again, we have net asset effectively worth JPY 25 trillion. And now that Sprint is going to get merged, hopefully, so we have plenty of options as well as liquidity. So for us to make an investment, we have an option to make an investment with our own liquidity. And also dividends from portfolio companies or exit of those companies may take place. In fact, we have already divested some portfolio companies like NVIDIA or Flipkart. And we can make investments on our own, or we can work with partners new or existing. We know that there are some concerns amongst some investors and some criticism even from some partners, but we also hear from potential investors and existing investors that they want to work with us. So for terms and conditions, we are still in discussion with potential partners and existing partners. So again, we have flexibility, and we have options. In the meantime, we continue making investment, and our policy or our position remains the same.

Yes, another question from you?

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Unidentified Participant, [44]

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[Interpreted] Yes. Related to somebody else's question -- well, actually, my previous question. Vision Fund 2's scale, $108 billion worth was the number in MOU you mentioned before. Whether Softbank alone or together with partners, how big SoftBank Vision Fund 2 you'd like to envision?

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [45]

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[Interpreted] Again, we have learned lessons, and this time, at the moment, I think that next fund size, it should be a little bit smaller because, again, we have caused concerns and anxiety to a lot of people. So maybe we should make a size smaller. And we collect fund as a bridge for next 1, 2 years. And we achieve some results and based upon the performance, we'll officially launch SoftBank Vision Fund 2. So before we officially launch SoftBank Vision Fund 2, maybe we start from smaller scale and start from shorter period in terms of investment as sort of bridge to make sure that people or stakeholders feel comfortable. So I'm beginning to think about that kind of 2-steps approach. We have not made any official decision yet, but that's one of the options that we started considering. Again, we have not drawn conclusion yet, but that kind of step-wise approach is something that we begin to think about. So that bridge fund size, again, size-wise, we are still in discussion.

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Unidentified Company Representative, [46]

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[Interpreted] Next question, please?

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Unidentified Participant, [47]

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[Interpreted] My name is [Sam] from Reuters. You mentioned about Vision Fund 2. Last year, July, you have disclosed the many organization name. But my understanding is that the third-party money has not been included. But are you really serious about taking third-party money? Of course, I hear what you just said. Vision Fund 2 has not been launched and will not be able to start in the meantime. That's my first question.

And my second question is about Vision Fund 2 investee valuation. 30-some companies has increased their value, and 30-some companies has decreased in value. But that's, I believe, in line with Elliott's request. More specifically, can you identify the number of -- name of company because you don't disclose those at all so that transparency of such fund, I believe, requires disclosure of such companies. Do you also feel that way?

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [48]

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[Interpreted] Vision Fund 1 amount of investment, about 80% of the fund has already been invested. Therefore, the remaining committed capital will be -- needs to be saved for further on investments and so on. Some of them needs to be also saved for the payments of coupon for preferred. So investment from Vision Fund has completed effectively. In the past few months, SoftBank using our own money, SoftBank Group's money, we made several investments. Because we do have a very good pipeline so that we have made some investments, it's hundreds of billions yen level. That compares to the normal funds that I believe it's relatively a large amount. But that has been made using our own capital. We've been having several discussions but the several partners are happy to consider making big investments in Vision Fund 2. It shouldn't be postponed too long. So that why don't we also consider setting the bridge in a year or so, so that we can continuously invest as a partner. That discussion is also going, and that may be something good -- some good option, so that's still under discussion with those concerned parties. So that discussion sometime soon will be closing. So we have received MOU reaching to $108 billion. How -- then that we would like to set aside. We don't need to pursue that size -- that large size at this moment but rather look for a little bit smaller size based on those consideration of WeWork and so on. But we would like to start and showing some performance with those smaller size of the investments and then that we can find a next opportunity or challenge.

Regarding your question on the disclosure of the investee, because this is a regulated -- as regulated investment fund, normally, those private investment firm, the size of the investment or its investee should not be disclosed. That's the traditions for venture capitals and others. Those public securities, because it shows the market cap every day, its value at steady basis and also the amount and the performance within the scope of what we can disclose, we've been disclosing. But many of those private companies, without their consent, we will not be able to disclose their performance. That violates the confidentiality with them. We are the regulated body from the regulator. We cannot cherry pick and show only the good news and does not show the bad news. Cherry-picking type of disclosure should not be made. That's another regulations that we've been following. So within the scope of the regulations, how far can we disclose continuously or how far should not we disclose, that's something that we, our management and also our investees should have a good discussion to decide. And at the same time, 5 or 6 companies of objective value evaluator or auditor, 5 or 6 companies like that are there and every month asking them to test the fair value of those investees. And we obtain those opinions. And also, for our LPs, limited partners, we continuously share such data with them.

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Unidentified Company Representative, [49]

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[Interpreted] Last one question?

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Takahiko Hyuga, [50]

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[Interpreted] Hyuga from Bloomberg. Question about how a company should be. There are a lot of investment companies around the world. Some are listed, others are not. And the disadvantage of a listed investment company, if you consider that, for example, disclosure requirement as an option. Would you consider delist?

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [51]

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[Interpreted] I think option-wise, that can be one option. Actually, privatizing SoftBank and make it our -- my own company, I seriously thought about that actually. In the meantime, instead of being a private company, there are shareholders who want to participate in our businesses as shareholders, so I'm sure that as a way of funding and financing and to make sure that business is run in a healthy way, there are benefits to stay listed. And of course, disclosure, some cumbersome, if you will, as a listed company. So there are benefits. Other -- there are some disadvantages. Or maybe cumbersome is not the right word. But we want to maintain transparency and we want to run the business appropriately so that we can bring benefits to shareholders and creditors but us staying transparent.

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Takahiko Hyuga, [52]

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[Interpreted] Second question about coronavirus, and there are a lot of people in trouble. And as SoftBank Group, what have you done or what are you going to do? As Vision Fund 1 or bridge fund, are you looking at the potential investees to help those in trouble in the light of this coronavirus issue?

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [53]

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[Interpreted] Unknown issue or new -- sorry, unknown virus or new virus, from medical perspective, analyzing DNA and leveraging AI, faster, more accurately are fighting against those viruses. There are some companies that have such medical solution or technologies that could attack those unknown and new viruses. And by us making investments in those companies, those companies could help attacking those viruses or even cancer cells. So for those companies, investing in those companies and by them growing, they could help people around the world to fight against diseases. So that kind of support I would like to definitely do.

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Unidentified Company Representative, [54]

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[Interpreted] And final question?

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Unidentified Participant, [55]

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[Interpreted] [Katahira] from NewsPicks. I have a couple of questions. On Financial Times as of February 4, Michael Ronen will retire from SoftBank Vision Fund. And he had some concerns about SoftBank Vision Fund. So could you confirm that retirement of that person or if there were some issues? That's one -- first question.

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [56]

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[Interpreted] There are several hundreds of employees there. In any organization, every year, some of them will retire, the same as your company. SoftBank, in the past some tens of years, every year, some left, some comes in. And those who left with what reason is case by case, their own thinking, their family situation, their health situation, their dreams, vision. There are many reasons there so that I don't say good or bad or what is the reason good for leaving company or not. Whatever the organization is, such people comes in and out occurs anyway.

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Unidentified Participant, [57]

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[Interpreted] What is the issue that Mr. Ronen is concerned about? How do you address?

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [58]

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[Interpreted] I don't know what he concerned. I don't know about that. Me, I'm full of energy, no change, and being investing, that's the situation.

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Unidentified Participant, [59]

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[Interpreted] And I have another question about OYO and WeWork. Large investment held by Vision Fund may not be used fully, that's how I see the challenge is there. Especially when it comes to Internet business, invest and take the share can be a good share -- powers for your business. But real estate or which making small agreements contract with each owners and so -- landlords and so on, doing such business may have a lot of challenges there. In, I believe, number of -- numbers may be the pressure for OYO from you so that, as a result, that you may encourage them too much to pursue numbers. How do you think about that?

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [60]

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[Interpreted] I don't feel that way. If people can grow and they have a room to grow, I think money can be very useful. And if we cannot use such possibility well, then that can be a harm. But generally speaking, great technology, great management and the great opportunities there, then money is something necessary, with no harm but rather necessary for the competition. And that can be a good weapon if they can use wisely. Whatever the revolution is, money always was necessary. In the past, in history, whatever the revolution was, always money was necessary. And that was very useful, whatever the battle was, whatever the revolution was, I believe that's the case. So if you can use it wisely, you can create a great revolution with great size, and you can increase the ratio of success rather than not having any money.

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Unidentified Participant, [61]

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[Interpreted] One more question, term sheet question. So whenever you invest and show the investment intention with term sheet, but sometimes you end up not investing in such company, and that can be quite harmful for start-up companies and I believe that has been covered by media. Can you build a good trust with those company?

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [62]

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[Interpreted] I don't know if you know the definition of term sheet. But term sheet is just to show the condition to negotiate with the counterpart, with how much, with what evaluation, on what timing you want to put the money in. And for that condition, we want to send -- take one Board seat, for example, if -- as long as your business plan goes based on your plan, and there are many conditions there. And term sheet also say this is not legal bindings. 1 out of 100 or 2 times out of 100, the term sheet may not reach to the final agreements. And that happens everywhere, not only us. Out of hundreds (sic) [100], 1 or 2, that we may have such case, you just pick that 1 or 2 times and you cannot trust because of that, that I think is misleading. And that's not only happening in Vision Fund. For other venture capitals, it happens time to time, 2 or 3 times out of 100. In our case, maybe 2 or 3 times out of 100 that occurs, after the due diligence, in the process of due diligence, we could not reach to the agreements with you based on your business plan. Also, a final decision will be decided based on our Investment Committee approval. Without Investment Committee approval, like a Board meeting in the enterprise, without such approval, with term sheet, we cannot keep the words 100% then.

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Unidentified Participant, [63]

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[Interpreted] What's the role for Investment Committee? What's the role for Board meeting? Doesn't make sense. That's just ignoring the governance.

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [64]

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[Interpreted] And we always, always having a limited partner observing our Investment Committee and have a discussion, having several opinions discussed, maybe valuation is too high, competition is too tight -- tough, or there are such tough questions back and forth. Maybe 2 or 3 times out of 100, we decide not to invest as a result, and that should happen, and that's the governance, I think. It just happened to be term sheet is agreed, that doesn't necessarily mean that we have to 100% keep that.

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Unidentified Participant, [65]

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[Interpreted] That's, I believe, rather wrong or strange.

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [66]

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[Interpreted] That's why I will say 2 times or 3 times out of 100, maybe 4, 5 times out of 100, we may exchange a term sheet agreed on that but still may not be reaching to the investment decision. And I don't think that's a bad thing because that's a natural thing to do. Up until the last minute, we never know. Term sheet for counterpart, we explained that way, clearly explained that especially these days that I'm asking each investment manager to make sure that, that term sheet does not have legal bindings.

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Unidentified Participant, [67]

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[Interpreted] Because Vision Fund didn't -- weren't able to raise the money, so that's why that you break the term sheet?

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. - Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO [68]

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[Interpreted] No, not at all. That's not the case at all.

So we just passed the time quite. So tide is turning. That's the one word I would like to conclude my presentation and the meeting.

Thank you very much.

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Unidentified Company Representative, [69]

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[Interpreted] Thank you very much. This concludes the SoftBank Group Corp. Earnings Results Announcement for the 9-Months Period ended December 31, 2019.

The video footage of this meeting will be distributed on demand from our website. Thank you very much once again for joining the SoftBank Group Corp. Earnings Results Announcement for the 9-Months Period ended December 31, 2019. Those who are with us over the Internet or by telephone, thank you indeed for staying until the end of the meeting. Thank you, once again, very much.

[Portions of this transcript that are marked Interpreted were spoken by an interpreter present on the live call.]