SoftBank Group Corp.’s first-quarter gain increased 49 percent from previous year, thanks to investment gains.
The Japanese telecommunications provider and technology investor stated that operating gain was 715 billion yen ($6.4 billion) in the three months ended June, increased by a 245 billion yen profit from its Vision Fund and a 161 billion yen gain on the sale of subsidiary ARM’s Chinese unit. Revenue was 2.27 trillion yen.
Founder Masayoshi Son has moved his focus to the company’s longer-term future and investments in overseas technology companies.
Previous year, he formed the Vision Fund, raising around $100 billion from big backers including Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and Apple.
Son has stated that the fund represents the modifications of SoftBank from a telecoms conglomerate to a holdings group with investments in the world’s most influential technology companies.
Son stated at a briefing in Tokyo on Monday, “The Vision Fund will continue to deliver results every year and increase its value. We are creating a group of the world’s most advanced unicorn companies.”
The Vision Fund portfolio varies from ride-hailing companies, digital payments and satellites to agriculture, semiconductors and cancer detection.
The fund’s contribution in the first quarter was mainly because of valuation gain from the planned sale of Flipkart Online Services Pvt, the leading Indian e-commerce player, to Walmart and rise in fair value of WeWork Companies.
While SoftBank’s income and valuation become more dependent on investments, Son has been taking measures to separate the company’s wireless operations. The proposed $26.5 billion takeover of SoftBank’s US unit Sprint Corp. by T-Mobile US would join the No. 3 and No. 4 wireless providers in the US The two carriers have been pitching their deal as a combination of underdogs trying to better compete against industry giants AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc.
SoftBank is interviewing banks to organizing the IPO of its domestic wireless business and plans to choose several lead underwriters as early as August, people with knowledge of the matter have said.
Local and Foreign investment banks have been making formal pitches to SoftBank in the last few weeks, as per the people, who asked not to be identified since the information is private. The company focuses for the mobile unit to start trading in Tokyo in October and the offering could raise more than 2 trillion yen, they stated.
Revenue from domestic telecom operations, which involves broadband, wireless and fixed-line services, increased 4.6 percent to 880.5 billion yen in the quarter. Profit was little altered. SoftBank had 33.6 million mobile subscribers, a rise of 434,000 from the last quarter.
Earnings from the operations may come under pressure as billionaire Hiroshi Mikitani’s Rakuten Inc. plans to become the country’s fourth major mobile-phone operator. Son, whose acquisition of Vodafone’s Japan business in 2006 was the industry’s largest shakeup in recent history, has stated he welcomes the competition.
Son mentioned, “We have to go beyond being just a carrier in a maturing industry. That’s why we are planning to rapidly increase collaboration with the Vision Fund.”
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