SoftBank 🕴

While not a stock we cover (listed only in Tokyo), SoftBank comes up a lot in our conversations. With their fingers in many tech pies, they are fast becoming a commonly referenced firm whenever we speak about tech companies.

With a recent downturn in valuations, and private equity under strain, the impact is being felt by the flagship Vision Fund.

Right now they are posting some serious record losses.

In fact, they are currently doing a share buy back to improve the price and even pledging their own shares as collateral. Not sure how it works doing a share buy back to improve the price while also offering your own shares as collateral which are impacted by the share buy back which is backed by… You get the point.

It is unlikely the current environment or past mistakes will slow the Vision Funds down. While their reputation has taken a few knocks, they still have the power when it comes to showing the cash to companies and their existing connections.

Depending on your view of active fund managers, SoftBank is either as visionary as their funds or as hype driven as WeWork.

Speaking of SoftBank and it’s investments. Opendoor, which does buying and selling of home online for a faster process, has done a second round of layoffs.

While another groan point for SoftBank it’s also some interesting insight into house prices and the housing marketing at this time, be it US focused.

According to, the number of U.S. homes for sale declined 15.7% year-over-year in the month of March, with the number of newly listed properties falling by 13.1% the week ending March 21 and by 34.0% for the week ending March 28.

One thing to note would be people who already had listing and under no additional pressure to sell (second property, live in tenants etc), selling to those who haven’t been affected or were already committed to buying. This versus people being forced to sell. Are the new listings in a pressure situation or is it business as usual for them?

I’m sure as the month goes on the house market situation, on both sides of the pond, will become clearer.

May 18th is the SoftBank quarterly reporting day.

We’ll see what WeWork’s value has been put at, as well as an insight into their portfolio and any deals they are progressing on.

Last September, he resigned as Alibaba’s chairman, and is also expected to step down from its board at its annual general shareholder’s meeting this year.

The company said last month it expects its $100 billion Vision Fund to lose about $16.5 billion, due largely to the near collapse of WeWork, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on other portfolio companies, including Uber and Oyo.

It is also expected to post an annual operating loss of $12.5 billion.

Their investment in Uber is questionable as well now.

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SoftBank has now announced their 2019 numbers and it’s not a happy occasion.

The first fund has officially closed and we get some insight into the spend.

We also got some insights into the months ahead and the current struggles they are facing. With some sales being rumoured.

And while I’m posting TechCrunch links I might as well round it off with an article on Jack Ma leaving and the general outlook for tech investment in the future.

Looks like a lot of ego and hubris in one room and the chickens have come home to roost.

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While a smaller fund compared to their normal setups, this is a great step forward to helping promote founders from anywhere.

Now we know more about the impact and scale of issues at Wirecard, it’s time for SoftBank to think what this means for them.

They also have more troubles with valuations as one of their companies aims to IPO at a discount to SoftBank’s valuation.

The issue with private equity and their valuations. I wonder what this will do to the overall “worth” of the funds.

Good news for Wirecard and Softbank.

In the UK client’s money was not mixed with the business and correctly segregated. This limited the issues Wirecard has to face but they are still far from safe.

Looks like Softbank didn’t have to worry about Lemonade.

The price has bumped back up, though it’s another unprofitable company listing which hopes to achieve profitability in the next few years. A risk Uber took as well.

Starting to sound like SoftBank might be cashing in some of its winning positions.

Though increasing the liquidity and joining the market rallies brings it own benefits as well. While we talk about private equities valuations we still see extremely high valuations on the public markets (Tesla for instance.)

Even if SoftBank isn’t looking to take some profits, they would get the benefit of the wider market potentially driving up the price and the ability to attract other large scale investors.

Wirecard has deeper issues it seems.

This will likely knock the share price again and cause more investigations. These are painful cuts to SoftBank and hopefully raising some serious questions about their role as key investors and board members.