HomeJapan's SoftBank returns to quarterly profit but unveils more Vision Fund pain

Japan’s SoftBank returns to quarterly profit but unveils more Vision Fund pain

SoftBank’s Vision Fund, the brainchild of the company’s founder Masayoshi Son, has faced a number of headwinds including a slump in technology stocks as a result of rising interest rates, a tough China market and geopolitics.

Kentaro Takahash | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp reported its first quarterly profit in three quarters, buoyed by the sale of some of its stake in China’s Alibaba even as its massive Vision Fund posted another heavy quarterly loss.

The sprawling Vision Fund, which upended the world of technology with its big bets on startups, will also write down its investments in troubled crypto exchange FTX to zero, a source close to SoftBank said, adding that those were less than $100 million.

The complications at FTX mark the latest difficulty for Vision Fund, which has been hammered in recent quarters by a global tech rout, prompting SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son to sharply scale back fresh investments.

Investment losses at flagship unit Vision Fund were 1.38 trillion yen ($9.75 billion) in the three months to September 30 as the value of its portfolio continued to slide.

Son told a briefing that this would be the last time he would speak at a post-earnings briefing for the “foreseeable future”, adding that he had no health issues. SoftBank itself is synonymous with Son, who with his audacious bets on everything from Chinese tech to startups like WeWork has charted a course far divergent from that of any other Japanese company.

At SoftBank itself, net profit came to 3.03 trillion yen in the July-September second quarter. In the first quarter, the group had posted a 3.16 trillion yen loss.

Days after unveiling the massive first-quarter loss, SoftBank said it would reduce its Alibaba Group Holdings stake to around 15% from around 24% by settling prepaid forward contracts and book an estimated gain of 4.6 trillion yen in the second quarter.

In the latest quarter the value of some of SoftBank’s listed investments fell, including its stakes in U.S. real estate broker Compass and Indonesia’s biggest tech firm, GoTo, while South Korean e-commerce firm Coupang was among the gainers.

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