SoftBank said last week it had secured $108 billion in pledges
for its Vision Fund 2 (VF2) from participants including
Microsoft Corp <MSFT.O> and Apple Inc <AAPL.O>, without breaking
out their individual contributions.
The anchor investors from the first fund, Saudi Arabia and Abu
Dhabi, are showing "high interest" in taking stakes and
negotiations are ongoing, Son said on Wednesday after SoftBank
turned in first-quarter operating earnings that blew past
That result was aided by a stellar performance at the first
Vision Fund, whose operating profit jumped 66% on year to 397.6
billion yen ($3.74 billion) for the three months ended June.
SoftBank is relying on proceeds from the first Vision Fund (VF1)
along with other assets to bankroll its $38 billion contribution
to the second fund.
"Vision Fund 2 could start investing pretty soon, next month or
the month after," Son said.
With the first fund having spent much of its capital on fast
growing, late-stage startups like Uber <UBER.N> and WeWork
parent The We Company, SoftBank is now turning its attention to
the second fund to maintain its oversized industry presence.
"Many Japanese companies are sailing using an old map. Using our
new map we are looking for a new continent," Son said.
The first fund's $66.3 billion investment in 81 firms is now
worth $82.2 billion, as the value of its bets in firms like
hotel chain OYO, workplace messaging app Slack <WORK.N> and
delivery service Doordash has grown.
But much of the fund's gains are paper profits, with its
unrealized gains in the first quarter at 604 billion yen.
That was, however, offset by 195 billion yen in unrealized
losses from a drop in value of its stake in firms like
ride-hailing firm Uber, which is trading below its IPO price.
SoftBank's results have been increasingly volatile as Son shifts
focus from the predictable income of telecoms in favor of bets
on startups with shifting valuations.
The group raked in a quarterly operating profit of 688.8 billion
yen, outstripping a 336 billion yen estimate from five analysts
compiled by Refinitiv.
The number was, however, down 3.7% from a year ago when results
were propped up by a stake sale in chip designer Arm's China
SoftBank's shares, which have rise 42% this year, closed down
0.2% ahead of the earnings.
(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Additional reporting by Yuri Harada;
Editing by Himani Sarkar)
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