In a recent quarter, SoftBank broke the losing streak with its first profit after four straight quarters of losses. The star performer was its flagship tech investment arm, the Vision Fund.
Net Sales: Achieved 1.77 trillion Japanese yen ($11.9 billion), slightly below the estimated 1.8 trillion Japanese yen.
Net Income: Surged to 950 billion Japanese yen, surpassing expectations of 196.5 billion yen.
Vision Fund Gain: Marked an impressive gain of 600.7 billion Japanese yen, signalling a remarkable recovery from previous fiscal year losses.
First Quarterly Profit: SoftBank’s net income turned positive for the first time in four consecutive quarters.
The Vision Fund’s gain in the December quarter is the highest since March 2021, reaching 3.59 trillion yen.
Tough Times in Previous Fiscal Year: The flagship tech investment arm faced challenges in the last fiscal year, posting a record loss of around $32 billion due to a slump in tech stock prices and challenges in China.
Recent Gains: The Vision Fund has posted gains in the last three quarters, showcasing a rebound in tech valuations.
Didi and ByteDance: Rising valuations from major firms invested in by the Vision Fund, including Chinese ride-hailing app Didi and TikTok owner ByteDance, contributed to the positive results.
AI Investments: SoftBank’s shift to “offence” mode in 2022, focusing on artificial intelligence technology, has benefited the Vision Fund. Investments in companies like China’s SenseTime have positioned it well in the AI landscape.
Investment Gain: SoftBank gained $5.5 billion in the December quarter through the sale of shares of its majority-owned chip designer, Arm.
Arm’s Potential: SoftBank’s founder, Masayoshi Son, and CFO Yoshimitsu Goto emphasized Arm’s potential as a major player in artificial intelligence.
From Alibaba to AI: SoftBank has transitioned from a focus on Alibaba, where it once held a significant stake, to an AI-centric portfolio.
Reduced Exposure to China: The company has decreased its investment exposure to China, highlighting a strategic shift.
Market Response: SoftBank’s Tokyo-listed shares surged 11% following the positive earnings report.
Upcoming Actions: Investors are eager to see SoftBank’s moves in March when the lock-up period for Arm shares expires. Speculations suggest a potential buyback of its own shares by selling Arm stock.
SoftBank’s impressive performance in the December quarter, led by the Vision Fund’s substantial gains, marks a significant turnaround from previous challenges.
With strategic shifts towards AI-centric investments and reduced exposure to China, the company is positioning itself for future growth. The positive market response reflects confidence in SoftBank’s evolving strategy and its ability to navigate the dynamic landscape of technology investments.