SoftBank Group’s earnings increased by 50.1 percent for the three months to 30 June thanks to Vision Fund, its colossal technology-focused vehicle that has raised $93.2 billion against a $100 billion target.
This is the first earnings announcement including Vision Fund, which generated an operating profit of ¥105.2 billion ($952 million; €806 million). This was driven by the acquisition of shares of US chipmaker NVIDIA. The shares are currently held by SoftBank and will be transferred to Vision Fund, said Masayoshi Son, chief executive of SoftBank Group, in an earnings call on Monday.
That income was cancelled out by unrealised gains and losses on valuation of investments amounting to ¥106.9 billion.
Overall, the Japanese telco’s operating profit, including income from Vision Fund, increased to ¥479.3 billion for the quarter, according to the earnings report.
NVIDIA’s acquisition brings the fund’s portfolio to four companies, including artificial intelligence business Brain, indoor farmer Plenty and British semiconductor company ARM. Others backed by SoftBank, such as cancer testing service Guardant Health, satellite manufacturer OneWeb and gaming company Improbable, are expected to be offered to the fund in the coming weeks.
SoftBank added Vision Fund as a reportable segment in its earnings following the vehicle’s first close on 20 May.
Vision Fund invests in companies across a range of technology sectors. Its investment period is five years from final closing, with a minimum life of 12 years. A final close date is expected before the end of the year. Investors include Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company, Apple, Foxconn, Qualcomm, Sharp and SoftBank itself.
Son highlighted “creating synergy among entrepreneurs” and establishing joint ventures between corporations and Vision Fund as “being the key element”. “We don’t just want to be an investor, we want to capitalise on information revolution,” he said.
Son also expressed interest in backing ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft, although it is unclear if the capital will come from Vision Fund. SoftBank is already the majority investor in similar ride-sharing companies such as Didi Chuxing, Ola, Grab and 99.