BulletinsFebruary 12, 2020
SoftBank’s investment funds have obliterated its profits.
A $2 billion loss on SoftBank's flagship Vision Fund, and its smaller sibling, the Delta Fund, led the company's operating income to drop 99% in the final three months of 2019, to just ¥2.59 billion, or about $23.6 million.
- The core of SoftBank's business — telecommunications and processors — brought in $2.08 billion in the last quarter. But that profit had to contend with SoftBank's huge investment losses, largely caused by WeWork and Uber.
- At an investor presentation (yes, the slides are still awful), CEO Masayoshi Son told investors the "tide is turning," pointing to the approval of T-Mobile's merger with Sprint (in which SoftBank is the majority shareholder), and a recent surge in Uber's stock price. Overall, he said, the Vision Fund's listed investments have gained $3 billion in value this year. Son reportedly said: "I am experiencing that a severe winter is followed by spring."
- The bumpy performance has seemingly scared away future investors, though. Son confirmed that Vision Fund 2 would be smaller than its $100 billion predecessor, appearing to confirm recent reports that the new fund was struggling to raise cash. SoftBank has said that it will itself invest $38 billion in the fund.
- Meanwhile, Son said he's met with Elliott Management, the activist fund which recently bought a stake in the firm. He said: "We are basically in agreement on carrying out large buybacks when the finances allow it."