Japan’s SoftBank plummets to losses as investment turns sour

TOKYO – SoftBank Group slipped into losses last fiscal year as the value of its global investments fell, the Japanese tech company reported on Thursday.

SoftBank Group Corp. reported red ink totaled 1.7 trillion yen ($13 billion) for the fiscal year ended March, a reversal of 4.9 trillion yen earnings a year earlier.

Annual sales rose 10.5% to 6.2 trillion yen ($48 billion).

Although the company’s portfolio is not directly exposed to the war in Ukraine, global uncertainty as well as inflation and rising energy costs are likely to negatively impact investments for some time, the company said.

Softbank chief executive Masayoshi Son told reporters he would take a more controlled and defensive approach to investments, focusing on past successes like British semiconductor and software design firm Arm.

“You might think that doesn’t sound like the son you knew, and it’s true that we’re going to continue to be aggressive in a way,” he said.


The intended sale of Arm to Nvidia fell through at the beginning of the year due to regulatory problems. But Son said Arms’ future growth promises to be “explosive” and preparations for an IPO are underway, although the date has yet to be set. New leaders at Arm China are “the last solution needed,” Son said.

SoftBank acquired Arm in 2016. Arm is a leader in artificial intelligence, IoT, cloud, metaverse and autonomous driving. Its semiconductor design is widespread and used in virtually all smartphones, most tablets and digital televisions. This technology is considered the key to autonomously driving cars.

SoftBank also owns stakes in wireless service provider SoftBank, web service provider Yahoo, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, and rental car company Didi. SoftBank also has funds that include other global investors called Vision Funds.

The online shift in people’s activities that has taken place due to the coronavirus pandemic will not be reversed even if COVID-19 restrictions are eased, Son said. People will continue to shop, work and entertain online, he said he.


When asked about his views on Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, Son said he has the utmost respect for Musk and expects him to do great things with Twitter. But Son made it clear that SoftBank would not be involved in Twitter.

Son defended his belief in investing in the “information revolution”. Stock prices have their ups and downs, but over the long term, the value of technology companies continues to grow.

“We believe in this continuous innovation,” he said.

“SoftBank will take a defensive stance, but we will continue to be on the offensive without overspending,” Son said.


Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter

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Joel McCord

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