9984.T - SoftBank Group Corp.

Tokyo - Tokyo Delayed Price. Currency in JPY
4,832.00
+5.00 (+0.10%)
At close: 3:15PM JST
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Performance Outlook
  • Short Term
    2W - 6W
  • Mid Term
    6W - 9M
  • Long Term
    9M+
Previous Close4,827.00
Open4,820.00
Bid0.00 x 0
Ask0.00 x 0
Day's Range4,803.00 - 4,888.00
52 Week Range2,609.50 - 5,886.00
Volume21,512,900
Avg. Volume32,348,241
Market Cap9.732T
Beta (5Y Monthly)1.52
PE Ratio (TTM)N/A
EPS (TTM)-485.33
Earnings DateAug 05, 2020 - Aug 11, 2020
Forward Dividend & Yield44.00 (0.91%)
Ex-Dividend DateMar 30, 2020
1y Target Est13,753.00
  • Thomson Reuters StreetEvents

    Edited Transcript of 9984.T earnings conference call or presentation 20-May-20 10:59am GMT

    Full Year 2020 SoftBank Group Corp Earnings Investor Presentation

  • Financial Times

    SoftBank investment chief given 113% pay rise despite Vision Fund woes

    The head of SoftBank’s $100bn Vision Fund has been awarded a 113 per cent rise in last year’s pay despite overseeing an $18bn value destruction of its investments. Rajeev Misra, a former Deutsche Bank debt trader who heads the Saudi-backed fund, received $15m for the year that ended in March, compared with $7m in the previous year, according to a notice SoftBank sent to its shareholders. The fund’s dismal performance has forced SoftBank to halt major new investments and scale back its ambitions for a second megafund after failing to raise money from external investors.

  • SoftBank led $500M investment in Didi in China's biggest autonomous driving round
    TechCrunch

    SoftBank led $500M investment in Didi in China's biggest autonomous driving round

    The race to automate vehicles on China's roads is heating up. Didi, the Uber of China, announced on Friday an outsized investment of over $500 million in its freshly minted autonomous driving subsidiary. Leading the round -- the single largest fundraising round in China’s autonomous driving sector -- is its existing investor Softbank, the Japanese telecom giant and startup benefactor that has also backed Uber.

  • SoftBank Vision Fund head's pay doubled last year despite massive losses
    Reuters

    SoftBank Vision Fund head's pay doubled last year despite massive losses

    SoftBank Vision Fund's head, Rajeev Misra, saw his total pay for the past business year more than double to 1.6 billion yen ($15 million), even as the fund's underperformance pushed SoftBank to a record $13 billion operating loss. The figure was second only to renumeration for SoftBank Group Corp Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure, which rose 17% to 2.1 billion yen. While offering big pay packets to foreign executives, compensation for CEO Masayoshi Son was 209 million yen, a 9% decline compared to a year earlier, a SoftBank filing showed.

  • Softbank-backed Coupang under scrutiny after South Korea warehouse virus outbreak
    Reuters

    Softbank-backed Coupang under scrutiny after South Korea warehouse virus outbreak

    Deluged with online orders as the coronavirus epidemic swept South Korea, e-commerce giant Coupang opened a new groceries warehouse and logistics centre near Seoul in March, providing food and other essentials to shoppers sheltering at home. More than 100 cases linked to the Coupang facility have been recorded in less than a week, raising the spectre of a second wave of COVID-19 in a country praised for containing the first outbreak. Coupang, backed by Japan's SoftBank and dubbed the Amazon of South Korea, hired thousands of temporary workers to staff the 24-hour operation.

  • SoftBank leads $500 million fundraising for Didi's self-driving unit
    Reuters

    SoftBank leads $500 million fundraising for Didi's self-driving unit

    China's Didi Chuxing said on Friday it had completed a fundraising round of over $500 million for its autonomous driving subsidiary that was led by SoftBank Group's <9984.T> Vision Fund 2. The ridehailing giant said in a statement the round marked the first time Didi's autonomous driving business had brought in external funding since it became a standalone unit last year and was also the single largest fundraising round in China's self-driving sector. Didi said it would use the capital to invest further in the research and development of autonomous driving technology as well as testing, and accelerate the deployment of autonomous driving services.

  • Softbank-backed Coupang under scrutiny after S.Korea warehouse virus outbreak
    Reuters

    Softbank-backed Coupang under scrutiny after S.Korea warehouse virus outbreak

    Deluged with online orders as the coronavirus epidemic swept South Korea, e-commerce giant Coupang opened a new groceries warehouse and logistics centre near Seoul in March, providing food and other essentials to shoppers sheltering at home. More than 100 cases linked to the Coupang facility have been recorded in less than a week, raising the spectre of a second wave of COVID-19 in a country praised for containing the first outbreak. Coupang, backed by Japan's SoftBank and dubbed the Amazon of South Korea, hired thousands of temporary workers to staff the 24-hour operation.

  • Bloomberg

    SoftBank Doubles Vision Fund Chief’s Pay Despite Record Loss

    (Bloomberg) -- The head of SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund received a substantial increase in compensation even as the investment business delivered a $17.7 billion loss.Rajeev Misra earned 1.61 billion yen ($15 million) in the year ended March 31, more than double his pay a year earlier, SoftBank said in a statement on Friday. The Vision Fund lost 1.9 trillion yen in the period, triggering the worst loss ever in the Japanese company’s 39-year history.SoftBank had to write down the valuations of companies like WeWork and Uber Technologies Inc. because of business missteps and the coronavirus fallout. Its return on the fund was negative 6%, compared with 62% just a year ago. Still, Misra was SoftBank’s second-highest-paid executive last year after Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure, even though Misra received no bonus and most of his compensation was in base pay. Founder Masayoshi Son took a 9% compensation cut, earning 209 million yen.“What kind of message is Son sending by giving Misra a raise despite the disastrous results he delivered?” said Atul Goyal, senior analyst at Jefferies Group. “The optics is just not good.”The pay hike for Misra comes at a time when the Vision Fund is planning deep cuts in staffing. The reductions across all levels of staff could affect about 10% of the fund’s workforce of roughly 500, according to people familiar with the matter. The Vision Fund, which has stopped making new investments after spending 85% of its capital, lists 30 people as investors on its website, including all of its managing partners, partners and directors.The fund has struggled since WeWork botched its efforts to go public last year and SoftBank stepped in to bail the company out. The Vision Fund currently manages more than 80 portfolio companies, but Son expects about 15 of the fund’s startups will likely go bankrupt while predicting another 15 will thrive.Separately, SoftBank is moving two managing partners at the Vision Fund into new roles. Akshay Naheta will become senior vice president, assisting Son in investments and providing strategic advice. Kentaro Matsui will transition to a senior advisory role at SoftBank Group.Claure, who helped close Sprint Corp.’s merger with T-Mobile US Inc. and is leading the effort to turn around WeWork, made 2.11 billion yen, a 17% raise. He also oversees a Latin American investment fund for SoftBank.SoftBank declined to comment on the reasons for changes in pay.Chief Strategy Officer Katsunori Sago earned 1.11 billion yen, a 13% increase for the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive. Ken Miyauchi, head of SoftBank’s domestic telecom operation, made 699 million yen, a 43% drop. Simon Segars, head of its ARM Holdings Plc chip unit, did not make the list because his pay dropped below 100 million yen. Segars earned 1.1 billion yen the previous year.Ronald Fisher, Son’s long-time lieutenant and SoftBank Group vice chairman, saw his pay plunge 79% to 680 million yen. Fisher’s remuneration from the Vision Fund, where he runs the U.S. operations, totaled 1.27 billion yen, including a 767 million yen bonus. But he lost 701 million yen in compensation not related to the fund. SoftBank said the drop reflects a decline in stock price, but didn’t provide further details.SoftBank’s disastrous bet on WeWork has been viewed internally as Fisher’s project. Before SoftBank first invested in the company in 2017, Fisher met with executives at IWG Plc, a European competitor with a much lower valuation and many more sites, according to people familiar with the matter. Fisher interpreted the unfavorable metrics as a sign of growth potential. A month later, the Vision Fund led a $4.4 billion investment round into WeWork at a $20 billion valuation.Last year, after WeWork’s effort to go public fell apart, SoftBank stepped in to organize a bailout and put Claure in charge of turning around the business. But the pandemic has hammered its operations as workers shy away from gathering in shared office spaces. Earlier this month, SoftBank wrote down the value of its stake to $2.9 billion, more than 90% lower than its peak.(Updates with analyst comment in fourth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • SoftBank Hands New Roles to Two Vision Fund Managing Partners
    Bloomberg

    SoftBank Hands New Roles to Two Vision Fund Managing Partners

    (Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Group Corp. has named Akshay Naheta senior vice president, moving the Vision Fund managing partner to a new role as the company looks for ways to improve its governance and stem losses, according to people familiar with the matter.Abu Dhabi-based Naheta will assist SoftBank founder and Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son in managing the conglomerate’s investments function and will provide strategic advice to its global management team, said some of the people, who asked not to be identified because the appointment isn’t yet public. Naheta will start his new role in June, one of them said.Another Vision Fund managing partner, Tokyo-based Kentaro Matsui, will transition to a senior advisory role at SoftBank Group, one of the people said. The moves were mutual decisions and part of an effort to refine the originally $100 billion fund’s operating model, the person added. Both Matsui and Naheta -- whose previous roles were focused on Asia and the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions, respectively -- are expected to continue to work on select Vision Fund activities.A spokeswoman for SoftBank and a spokesman for SoftBank’s Vision Fund declined to comment. The senior vice president title at SoftBank Group is held by the likes of its chief financial officer and chief legal officer.The executive reshuffle signals a heightened focus on SoftBank’s senior ranks in a period of turbulence for the Japanese conglomerate. The company reported the biggest annual loss in its history this month as Vision Fund portfolio companies lost value, and it’s been facing pressure from hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. to bolster governance and buy back stock.Read more: SoftBank’s Masa-Misra Partnership Strained by Losses, InfightingNaheta, who oversaw investments in the likes of chip designer Nvidia Corp., pharmaceutical company Roivant Sciences Ltd. and German online car trader Auto1, is close to Middle Eastern investor Mubadala Investment Co. and had been working on raising funds for a second Vision Fund, according to a person familiar with the matter.Matsui, who focused on investments in China, oversaw the Vision Fund’s bets on companies including Full Truck Alliance and Ping An Good Doctor.Potential LayoffsSoftBank’s Vision Fund is weighing job cuts that could affect about 10% of the company’s workforce after reporting about $18 billion in losses from the declining value of its startups, people familiar with the matter have said. In recent weeks, a separate SoftBank unit, SoftBank Group International, cut roughly 10% of staff.SoftBank earlier this month said it plans to spend as much as 500 billion yen ($4.6 billion) to buy back shares through next March, on top of an existing repurchase plan of the same size. The conglomerate is accelerating efforts to raise cash and is closing in on a deal to sell about $20 billion of its stock in T-Mobile US Inc., people familiar with the matter said previously.Before joining the Vision Fund, Naheta was managing partner of investment firm Knight Assets & Co. and head of principal strategies at Deutsche Bank AG. Matsui previously worked for Mizuho Securities Co. where he advised on some of SoftBank’s largest bets, including Arm, Vodafone Japan and Sprint.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • With M&A Hit, Wall Street Bankers Keep Busy With Stock Sales
    Bloomberg

    With M&A Hit, Wall Street Bankers Keep Busy With Stock Sales

    (Bloomberg) -- Wall Street bankers are a lot less busy these days, what with the pandemic-induced drop-off in mergers and acquisitions and initial public offerings.But there’s a gritty, less glamorous dealmaking realm that has held up, and it’s helping banks offset some of that lost M&A and IPO revenue. A variety of companies, looking for liquidity in the weak economy, are selling off big stakes they’ve long held in public corporations.The latest came Monday when French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi launched a $13 billion sale of its 16-year-old, 21% stake in Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. Regeneron, a New York-based biopharmaceutical firm, agreed to buy back about $5 billion of stock while the remaining $7 billion was sold to public investors in the largest public equity offering in the heath-care industry on record, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Sanofi’s move came a few weeks after the pandemic’s first big deal of this kind, PNC Financial Services Group Inc.’s sale of its quarter-century-old stake of more than $13 billion in BlackRock Inc. The sale was the second-largest equity offering in the U.S. since Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s $25 billion IPO in 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.PNC’s BlackRock stake was picked up by existing investors including Wellington Management, Capital Group Cos. and Fidelity Investments, according to people familiar with the matter. At least four state investment vehicles from the Middle East also took part in the offering, the people said.More such sales are coming. SoftBank Group Corp. raised $11.5 billion from transactions related to its stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. which it bought in 2000, and another $2.9 billion capitalizing a 5% stake in its wireless arm. It is also closing in on a deal to sell its roughly 25% T-Mobile US Inc. stake, worth about $20 billion, with a portion being sold to Deutsche Telekom AG, people familiar with the matter have said.These transactions so far account for some of the biggest-ever announced of their kind. All told, there’s been $80.6 billion over 21 secondary offerings announced this year, which beats $53.1 billion over 36 such deals during the same period last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.That compares with a 33% drop to $22 billion in volume this year for IPOs in the U.S., the data shows. M&A activity involving U.S.-based targets plummeted 62% during the same period, sinking to $241 billion, according to the data.For Wall Street, the secondary offerings aren’t as lucrative as other dealmaking but they require less work. Banks usually receive about 1% to 2% of the deal size for advisers fees, compared with 5% to 7% for handling an IPO. But IPOs often involve intensive road shows lasting weeks.Jim Cooney, head of equity capital markets for the Americas at Bank of America Corp., said selling stakes can make sense in the current economy. “The market prefers that companies stick to their core mission and monetize non-strategic assets before selling their own equity,” he said.The offerings mark another way that companies, distressed or not, have been hunting for liquidity since the beginning of the pandemic. Some have drawn down revolving credit lines, sold bonds or new shares and sold stakes to private equity firms. Investors have been willing buyers of shares, attracted by the discounts since shares are marketed at prices below where the stock is trading.These stake sales have investors speculating on what holdings could be unwound next. Here are some sizable ones to watch based on Bloomberg’s data. Bloomberg News isn’t aware of talks about potential sales of these stakes.SoftBank, UberSoftBank is Uber Technologies Inc.’s largest shareholder with a 13% stake worth $7.7 billion. The Japanese conglomerate, led by founder Masayoshi Son, forecasts an operating loss of 1.4 trillion yen ($13 billion) for the fiscal year ended in March after writing down values of the Vision Fund’s investments including WeWork and OneWeb, a satellite operator that filed for bankruptcy.While it isn’t SoftBank’s oldest or most sizable investment, it could help to recoup some losses.Walgreens Boots, AmerisourceBergenWalgreens Boots Alliance Inc. is the largest shareholder in AmerisourceBergen Corp. with a 28% stake, worth about $5.3 billion. AmerisourceBergen recently made an offer to buy the Walgreens pharmaceutical wholesale division, Reuters reported earlier this month.The news had analysts speculating it could be part of a transaction related to Walgreens exiting part of its stake in AmerisourceBergen. The two companies first saw their paths intertwine in 2013 through a $400 million distribution deal that was supposed to last a decade.Nestle, L’OrealSanofi’s deal to sell Regeneron stock also had analysts speculating it could buy back L’Oreal SA’s 9.4% stake in the drug company.That, in turn, raises the possibility that L’Oreal would buy back a 23% stake worth $35.5 billion that Nestle SA holds in the French cosmetics maker. Since this is a 40-year plus relationship, the deal idea has been long pitched by bankers. Over the years, both sides have said that the investment is long-term.HKEx, Kweichow MoutaiHong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd., owner of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, has a 8.5% stake worth $20 billion in distiller Kweichow Moutai Co.Kweichow Moutai has become a favorite stock in mainland China, and is up 15% this year, while the Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index fell 6.7%. Cashing out could help fuel HKEx’s ambitions as a dealmaker. It made a surprise bid for the London Stock Exchange last year.Mondelez, Dr PepperMondelez International Inc., the maker of Oreo cookies and Triscuit crackers, holds about about 13% of Keurig Dr Pepper, following a deal in 2018 when Keurig took control of the soda maker. In early March, right as the pandemic led to lockdowns in North America, Mondelez, and another investor connected to JAB Holdings BV called Maple Holdings BV,sold a $1.1 billion stake in Dr Pepper.The broader question for investors is whether Mondelez could sell more of its shares, Bank of America analyst Bryan Spillane said at the time. Mondelez could tap its equity stakes as a source of liquidity to fund acquisitions, he said.Coke, MonsterThe Coca-Cola Co. owns more than 18% of Monster Beverage Corp.’s stock, making it the Corona, California-based company’s largest shareholder, and Monster also uses Coke’s distribution network. While Coke took the minority stake back in 2014 in a push to capitalize on promising new brands, the beverage giant is getting more aggressive with its own offerings, which has sparked tensions with Monster. Analysts have been trying to figure out what Coke’s energy products mean for the future of the partnership.Liberty Broadband, CharterA 26% stake in Charter Communications Inc. has become a crown jewel for John Malone’s Liberty Broadband Corp. which has guided the company on acquisitions since it invested in 2013. But Malone, a savvy dealmaker, has not stopped reshaping his portfolio even in a pandemic and helped pull off a merger of Liberty Global’s U.K. business with Telefonica SA’s earlier this month.(Updates with BlackRock investors in fifth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • WeWork Board Factions Head for Clash Over New Directors
    Bloomberg

    WeWork Board Factions Head for Clash Over New Directors

    (Bloomberg) -- WeWork’s board is scheduled to vote on appointing two new directors on Friday, a critical step in a clash between shareholder SoftBank Group Corp. and a rival faction at the troubled co-working startup.A lawyer for WeWork told Delaware Chancery Court Judge Andre Bouchard in a letter that the company plans a May 29 meeting to fill two empty independent director seats. The nominees are Alex Dimitrief, General Electric Co.’s ex-top lawyer, and Frederick Arnold, the former chief financial officer for Convergex Group.SoftBank and the rival board faction are feuding over the Japanese conglomerate’s decision to scrap a $3 billion deal to buy stock from WeWork’s former Chief Executive Officer Adam Neumann and other shareholders. SoftBank agreed to the purchase last year as it bailed out the struggling startup, but then notified stockholders in March that some of the deal’s conditions hadn’t been met.Two independent WeWork directors then sued SoftBank for not following through on the transaction. One of them, Bruce Dunlevie, is a partner at the venture firm Benchmark Capital, which had planned on selling WeWork shares to SoftBank as part of the agreement.The new directors, who are expected to butt heads with the pair who filed the suit, will be on a special board committee tasked with deciding whether Dunlevie and another board member, Lew Frankfort, can properly represent the company in the SoftBank suit.In a court hearing Wednesday, Bouchard rejected bids by Dunlevie and Frankfort to block WeWork from adding new directors. Dunlevie and Frankfort were the only members of the earlier special committee that made the decision to sue. They had sought a so-called “status quo” order to maintain the company’s operations during the SoftBank litigation.“We believe SoftBank has no basis to question the special committee’s authority to bring this action and we are pleased by the court’s recognition that any effort by SoftBank to challenge that authority must be presented” to Bouchard, a spokesman for Dunlevie and Frankfort said Wednesday.SoftBank-backed WeWork officials said they are acting in the best interest of the company.“WeWork is pursuing best practices of corporate governance to determine what role if any WeWork should have in this contractual dispute among its shareholders,” Sarah Lubman, a SoftBank spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement. “The court’s decision today allows that process to go forward.”In their suit, Dunlevie and Frankfort contend SoftBank had “buyer’s remorse” and reneged on promises to “use its reasonable best efforts to consummate” the stock-purchase agreement.They also noted the agreement doesn’t contain a so-called “material adverse effect” provision or similar termination right that is common in such deals. Two years ago, a Delaware judge found such a provision permitted Germany’s Fresenius SE to walk away from its takeover of U.S. rival generic drugmaker Akorn Inc.In a message to shareholders in March, Softbank cited nearly a half-dozen conditions for the deal that WeWork officials hadn’t met, including a failure to renegotiate some leases in the wake of the economic havoc caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.Neumann -- who would have reaped the biggest windfall from the deal -- filed his own suit earlier this month claiming SoftBank is relying on legally faulty pretexts to scuttle the deal.The dispute is among several busted-deal cases tied to Covid-19 that landed in Delaware’s business court. The state is the corporate home to more than half of U.S. public companies and more than 60% of Fortune 500 firms. Chancery judges hear cases without juries and can’t award punitive damages.Dunlevie’s and Frankfort’s suit is The We Company v. SoftBank Group Corp, No. 2020-0258, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington). Neumann’s case is Neumann v. SoftBank Group Corp, Delaware Chancery Court.(Updates with judge’s denial of status-quo order in sixth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Google Considers Stake in India’s Vodafone Idea, FT Says

    (Bloomberg) -- Follow Bloomberg on LINE messenger for all the business news and analysis you need.Alphabet Inc.’s Google is considering acquiring a stake in Vodafone Group Plc’s struggling Indian business, the Financial Times reported, joining Facebook Inc. in investing in the world’s fastest-growing mobile arena.Google may take a stake of about 5% in Vodafone Idea, a partnership between the U.K. telecom carrier and the Aditya Birla Group, though the deliberations are at a very early state, the FT cited people familiar with the matter as saying.Any deal would come weeks after Facebook paid $5.7 billion for a slice of digital assets controlled by Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest man. The deal was a landmark investment followed in successive days by major influxes of capital into India’s tech industry led by private equity firms.Spokespeople from Vodafone and Vodafone Idea declined to comment. Google itself has big ambitions for India, a country with a huge first-time internet user population that serves as a test-bed for innovations in smartphone technology.Facebook’s alliance with Ambani’s Reliance inserted a powerful new competitor into a crowded Indian internet industry already contested by Google, Walmart Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and SoftBank Group Corp.-backed local outfit Paytm. But none of them have the reach of WhatsApp, the nation’s most popular communications platform.India has been a critical component of Google’s Next Billion Users initiative, its attempt to rope in hundreds of millions of users as they come on the internet in emerging markets like India. It’s targeted users in the market for products as varied as train station Wi-Fi, maps and digital payments. Vodafone’s Indian telecom unit is struggling following a $4 billion demand for back fees in addition to more than $14 billion of debt. The wireless operator, formed by the merger of Vodafone Group’s local unit and billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla’s Idea Cellular Ltd., hasn’t reported a quarterly profit since announcing the deal in 2017, and is headed toward insolvency in the absence of any relief from the government, Birla warned in December.India’s top court recently sided with the government and ordered that the full amount of back fees be paid within three months. When the companies dithered and filed pleas, the Supreme Court threatened to initiate contempt proceedings for non-compliance.(Updated with context throughout, comment from Vodafone)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Financial Times

    WeWork factions head for showdown over director appointments

    Rival factions on the WeWork board are heading for a showdown over who can claim to represent the company, after a court cleared the SoftBank-backed co-working group to appoint two new directors. WeWork told a court on Wednesday that a board meeting this Friday would vote on appointing Alex Dimitrief, former general counsel of General Electric, and Frederick Arnold, the former chief financial officer of Convergex, to fill its two empty board seats. The appointments are expected to sharpen the feud between SoftBank and a special committee of the board that sued the Japanese group last month.

  • Bloomberg

    SoftBank’s Vision Fund Is Planning to Cut 10% of Staff

    (Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund is planning deep cuts in staffing after reporting about $18 billion in losses from the declining value of its startups, according to people familiar with the matter.The reductions could affect about 10% of the fund’s workforce of roughly 500, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified discussing personnel decisions. The Vision Fund’s headquarters are in London, with additional operations in Tokyo and California. The cuts will be across all levels of staff, said one person.A spokesman for the Vision Fund declined to comment.SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son and his $100 billion Vision Fund changed the tech industry by handing out enormous checks to relatively unproven startups. But the fund went from SoftBank’s main profit contributor a year ago to its biggest drag on earnings. It lost 1.9 trillion yen ($17.7 billion) last fiscal year after writing down the value of investments, including WeWork and Uber Technologies Inc.Son originally said he hoped to raise a new Vision Fund every two to three years, but he has conceded he can’t attract money now because of the poor performance. The fund, led by Rajeev Misra, operates as a SoftBank affiliate with most of the money coming from limited partners, led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co.“It makes sense that SoftBank is cutting positions at the Vision Fund as they are in an extremely difficult situation, and they may start targeting highly paid workers to cut costs,” said Koji Hirai, head of M&A advisory firm Kachitas Corp. in Tokyo.The Vision Fund grew rapidly after launch three years ago as Misra recruited scores of people from the finance industry, including many of his former colleagues from Deutsche Bank. Among its managing partners are several of the German bank’s ex-employees, including Colin Fan, former co-head of its investment banking division.The fund also set up an unusual compensation structure that includes a $5 billion loan to employees. The debt is swapped for equity in the fund and generates profit when deals make money -- and losses when they don’t, scaled by seniority, people familiar with the matter have said. The poor performance so far, along with the layoffs, may prompt some employees to look for other positions.“One side effect is that the best people at SoftBank may exit to find better funds,” said Hirai. “If so, their fund business may become even worse, sliding down from a slope.”The Vision Fund has struggled since WeWork botched its efforts to go public last year and SoftBank stepped in to bail the company out. The Vision Fund currently manages more than 80 portfolio companies, but Son expects about 15 of the fund’s startups will likely go bankrupt while predicting another 15 will thrive.“Vision Fund’s results are not something to be proud of,” Son said earlier this month as he announced record losses. “If the results are bad, you can’t raise money from investors. Things aren’t good, that’s why we are investing with our own money.”The fund has already unwound some investments, including selling a nearly 50% stake in dog-walking startup Wag Labs back to the company last year. Son has said he plans to sell off about $42 billion in assets to finance stock buybacks and pay down debt.SoftBank disclosed it’s unloading some shares in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and is in talks to sell about $20 billion of T-Mobile US Inc., Bloomberg News reported. It’s also exploring a deal for its minority stake in industrial software maker OSIsoft LLC that could be worth $1.5 billion.SoftBank shares, after plummeting in March, have recovered and are little changed for the year. The stock rose just more than 1% in Tokyo trading.One emerging question is how Alibaba -- SoftBank’s most valuable holding -- will be affected by the clash between the U.S. and China. A bill just approved by the U.S. Senate could force Chinese companies like Alibaba to stop trading their shares on U.S. exchanges.“The big picture is SoftBank is caught up with U.S.-China conflict right now, and SoftBank may need to conduct a drastic restructuring if Alibaba was delisted from New York,” said Hirai. “Its main banks and the capital markets are anxiously awaiting an outcome for the situation.”(Updates with additional details starting in the first paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • ByteDance Hit $3 Billion in Net Profit Last Year
    Bloomberg

    ByteDance Hit $3 Billion in Net Profit Last Year

    (Bloomberg) -- TikTok’s parent ByteDance Ltd. generated more than $3 billion of net profit on over $17 billion in revenue last year, figures that show the world’s most valuable startup is still growing at a brisk rate, according to people familiar with the matter.The revenue for last year was more than double the company’s tally of about $7.4 billion in 2018, propelled by phenomenal growth in user traffic that’s drawn advertisers away from Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Baidu Inc. The people asked not to be identified because the financial details are private.ByteDance has emerged as one of the tech industry’s most surprising success stories, an innovative Chinese company that is challenging the global dominance of U.S. internet giants. It draws some 1.5 billion monthly active users to a family of apps that includes the TikTok short-video platform, its Chinese twin Douyin and the news service Toutiao. This month, the company poached Walt Disney Co. streaming czar Kevin Mayer to become chief executive officer of TikTok.The company owes much of its success to TikTok, now the online repository of choice for lip-synching and dance videos by American teens. The ambitious company is also pushing aggressively into a plethora of new arenas from gaming and search to music. ByteDance could fetch a valuation of between $150 billion and $180 billion in an initial public offering, a premium relative to sales of as much as 20% to social media giant Tencent thanks to a larger global footprint and burgeoning games business, estimated Ke Yan, Singapore-based analyst with DZT Research.“None of the Chinese tech companies has achieved this level of success in the global market before ByteDance,” he said, adding neither social media company harbors much debt. “The fact that ByteDance is making profit, if true, and sitting on a $6 billion cash pile means that it is not in a rush at all to come to market to raise capital, and therefore less likely to offer the shares at a more reasonable price for IPO investors.”ByteDance, led by Zhang Yiming, is becoming a viable rival to the dominant American online behemoths, Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc. Facebook unit Instagram brought in about $20 billion in advertising revenue in 2019, Bloomberg previously reported. Google said its video unit YouTube recorded $15.1 billion in ad sales last year.ByteDance representatives didn’t respond to a request for comment.That success has come despite American lawmakers raising concerns about privacy and censorship. In a rare bipartisan effort in Washington, Republican Senator Tom Cotton and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer last year urged an investigation into TikTok, labeling it a national security threat.President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to regulate or shut down social media companies, tweeting that the platforms attempt to silence conservative voices. Twitter Inc. on Tuesday added a fact-checking link to two of Trump’s tweets to his 80 million followers.ByteDance is strengthening its operations in newer arenas such as e-commerce and gaming. This year, it kicked off a wave of hiring and envisions hitting 40,000 new jobs in 2020, hoping to match headcount of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. at a time technology corporations across the globe are furloughing or reducing staff.The company had very preliminary discussions about an initial public offering last year, but is in no rush to go public given its financial performance, people have said. It now has more than $6 billion of cash on hand, the people said.ByteDance, which is backed by SoftBank Group Corp., General Atlantic and Sequoia, is already the world’s most valuable startup, according to researcher CB Insights. Some private trades recently valued the Chinese company between $105 billion and $110 billion on the secondary markets, Bloomberg News previously reported. It has also traded as high as $140 billion, one person said, making it one of the most highly valued private companies of all time.(Updates with Trump tweets in ninth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • SoftBank-backed Ola Electric buys Dutch scooter company Etergo
    Reuters

    SoftBank-backed Ola Electric buys Dutch scooter company Etergo

    A unit of SoftBank Group-backed <9984.T> Indian ride-hailing company Ola will buy Amsterdam-based electric scooter company Etergo as part of its plan to locally build electric vehicles (EVs), the company said on Wednesday. Ola Electric did not disclose the amount it was paying to acquire Etergo, which was last valued at around 84 million euros ($92 million), according to a source familiar with the deal. Ola Electric said it will begin EV production work this year and plans to launch its first electric scooter in 2021.

  • Reuters

    SoftBank-backed Ola buys Dutch electric scooter company Etergo

    SoftBank Group-backed Indian ride-hailing company Ola will acquire Amsterdam-based electric scooter company Etergo as part of its plan to locally build electric vehicles (EVs), the company said on Wednesday. Ola did not disclose the amount for which it will acquire Etergo, which was last valued at around 84 million euros ($92.05 million), according to a source familiar with the deal. Ola said it will begin EV production work this year and plans to launch its first electric scooter in 2021.

  • SoftBank’s Vision Fund to Explore Sale of OSIsoft Stake
    Bloomberg

    SoftBank’s Vision Fund to Explore Sale of OSIsoft Stake

    (Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Group Corp. is exploring a sale of a minority stake in OSIsoft LLC that could be worth more than $1.5 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.SoftBank is working with a financial adviser to sell the stake in the industrial software company, which is held by its Vision Fund, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. The move is part of SoftBank’s new focus on raising cash, they said.The Japanese firm’s plans aren’t final and it could opt to keep the stake, the people said.Representatives for the Vision Fund and OSIsoft declined to comment.SoftBank Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son has said he would sell off about $42 billion in assets to finance stock buybacks and pay down debt. SoftBank disclosed it’s selling shares in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and it’s in talks to sell about $20 billion of T-Mobile US Inc., Bloomberg News reported.SoftBank’s Vision Fund has unwound some investments, including dumping its entire stake in chipmaker Nvidia Corp. in February 2019. The fund, which has made bets on companies like WeWork that have cratered, sold a nearly 50% stake in dog walking startup Wag Labs back to the company last year.San Leandro-California based OSIsoft sells software into sectors including oil and gas, utilities and pharmaceutical development, according to its website.SoftBank acquired a “significant minority stake” in the company in 2017 from backers including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and TCV, according to a statement. Its investment was worth a bit less than $1 billion, a person familiar with the matter said at the time.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • SoftBank's Z Holdings Could Sell $1.86 Billion in Bonds
    Motley Fool

    SoftBank's Z Holdings Could Sell $1.86 Billion in Bonds

    Z Holdings is a bright spot for SoftBank, reporting an increase in fiscal year 2019 profits thanks to stay-at-home orders, which boosted e-commerce sales.

  • Barrons.com

    OakNorth Looks to Sell $400M Stake

    OakNorth, a U.K. fintech backed by SoftBank, is seeking to sell a $400 million stake held by an investor, Barron’s has learned.

  • Softbank's Arm releases chip tech for high-end Android devices
    Reuters

    Softbank's Arm releases chip tech for high-end Android devices

    Arm's technology powers the processors in both iPhones and Android devices. Apple's iPhones, however, are believed to have at least one high-performance core that is larger than others, helping it beat out Android competitors' peak speeds on single-threaded computing tasks.

  • Bloomberg

    Arm Offers Faster, Customizable Design to Help Android Phones

    (Bloomberg) -- Arm Ltd., whose technology is a key component of chips that run most of the world’s smartphones, is offering new designs aimed at boosting the performance of Android handsets.The U.K. company said its new A78 model will offer a 20% increase in performance over its predecessor and announced a new Cortex-X program that will help chipmakers customize their offerings to deliver bursts of as much as 30% more processing speed.Arm offers chip designs and licenses the fundamental code used by processors to communicate with software that runs phones. Most Android phone makers use chips from Qualcomm Inc. or Mediatek Inc. Samsung Electronics Co. and Huawei Technologies Co. use those chipmakers’ components and their own products. Apple Inc. is an Arm licensee, but designs its own A series processors that are typically rated the speediest available.The customization that Apple has been able to bring to its own combinations of software and hardware has allowed it to claim performance leadership over phones that run Alphabet Inc.’s Google Android operating system. Such claims feature heavily in Apple’s marketing of the iPhone.“The pace of increasing performance in smartphones exceeds that of any other computing device category in the industry today,” Arm said in a statement. “To address this insatiable demand for the highest performance possible, we’re introducing a new engagement program called the Cortex-X Custom program to give our partners the option of having more flexibility and scalability for increasing performance.”Cortex X will let chip and phone makers add a different mix of cores to the combinations of components that run major smartphone functions. Current designs feature uniform sets of cores and more power-efficient ones that are used to maintain background functions without draining the battery. Arm’s new offering changes this approach. An X core might kick in for a short time, for example, when a piece of software is demanding the absolute maximum performance the chip can provide.Cambridge-based Arm is a division of Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. Like other companies that rely on the smartphone market, Arm is looking for ways to help spur demand for the devices. The market already had stalled before the Covid-19 outbreak curbed sales and disrupted supply chains. In the first quarter of 2020, smartphone shipments dropped 12% from a year earlier, according to IDC.In addition to more powerful and efficient designs for the handsets, the smartphone industry is banking on faster fifth-generation, or 5G, networks to persuade consumers to upgrade their phones.Arm is also offering a new graphics chip design that will handle video and gaming content better, and updated machine-learning capabilities to help with artificial intelligence workloads.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    One Profitable SoftBank Unit Plans Big Bond Sale

    (Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Masayoshi Son appears to have lost his midas touch of late, but one part of his technology empire still turning a profit, even in the Covid-19 era, is now planning a big bond.Z Holdings Corp., formerly known as Yahoo Japan, is planning to sell about 200 billion yen ($1.86 billion) of yen-denominated notes in June, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified. Son was one of the earliest backers of Yahoo! in the 1990s and then teamed up with the dot-com-era darling to launch the portal in Japan, an asset that wound up being much more valuable than its parent.Unlike Son’s SoftBank Group Corp., which recently posted a record loss from newer investments, Z Holdings reported higher profits, as the pandemic boosted earnings at its online shopping business, while people stayed home. Son has been seeking to build Z Holdings into an internet giant to battle global rivals, and plans to combine the business later this year in a complex deal with Line Corp., Japan’s leading messaging service.Z Holdings, a unit of SoftBank’s domestic telecom business is considering to sell 1.5-, 3-, 5-, 7- and ten-year notes, and has hired underwriters for the deal, according to the people familiar. It is set be the biggest offering in the current fiscal year started April 1, if it prices at 200 billion yen.A spokeswoman for Z Holdings said nothing had been decided at this point on any issuance.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Financial Times

    ‘Never waste a crisis’: inside Saudi Arabia’s shopping spree

    The $325bn Public Investment Fund has not been shy about its ambitions since it fell under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s stewardship five years ago — it boasts of becoming the world’s “most impactful investor” and the largest sovereign wealth fund. As the coronavirus pandemic wreaks economic carnage across the globe, PIF has stepped up a gear to become the most publicly active sovereign investment vehicle, unabashedly seeking out bargains amid the panic. It has snapped up a 5.7 per cent stake worth around $500m in Live Nation, a US-based entertainment company.