The Real Deal New York

SoftBank looks more like an investment company as Q2 profits roll in

Investments such as those in Vision Fund drove 49% gain to $6.4B
August 06, 2018 09:30AM

Masayoshi Son (Credit: Getty Images)

Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank Group saw operating profit rise 49 percent last quarter thanks to gains from investments such as those made in its Vision Fund, which has placed bets on companies like WeWork, Compass and Reonomy.

The Japanese bank saw operating profit rise to $6.4 billion in the three months that ended in June, Bloomberg reported. But as more and more of the company’s gains come from investments, SoftBank is increasingly looking more like an investment company instead of a bank.

Son has shifted the bank’s focus, and he’s betting that robotics and artificial intelligence will drastically shake up older industries.

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“Son today talked about his strategy of investing into companies that will profit from the impact of AI — that will probably happen 5 to 10 years from now, and that’s when it will be reflected in SoftBank’s share price,” Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute, told Bloomberg. “But there are more immediate investments that are already showing results, and that’s something investors have to start taking into account.”

Son launched the Vision Fund in late 2016 with roughly $100 billion from investors like Saudi Arabia and Apple.

The fund last year invested $4.4 billion in WeWork and pumped $450 million into Compass.

SoftBank tends to take large stakes in companies, aiming for around 15 percent but sometimes going as high as 30 percent. [Bloomberg] – Rich Bockmann