SoftBank posts $23.8 billion Vision Fund loss on tech slump

TOKYO – SoftBank Group on Monday (Aug 8) posted a 2.33 trillion yen (S$23.8 billion) loss at its Vision Fund unit in the April to June quarter as the value of its technology portfolio slid.

SoftBank had booked a record loss at the Vision Fund unit in May as market turmoil driven by rising interest rates and political instability hit the tech investor.

The group’s sliding portfolio pushed it to a 3.16 trillion yen net loss in the latest quarter, compared with profit of 761.5 billion yen in the same period a year earlier.

SoftBank founder and chief executive Masayoshi Son, who will speak at an earnings briefing at around 3.30pm Singapore time, has pledged to tighten criteria and preserve cash to weather the downturn.

In the quarter ended in June, falling listed investments included robotics firm AutoStore Holdings and artificial intelligence firm SenseTime Group.

SoftBank said it booked a 296 billion yen loss on the value of Vision Fund’s private investments. Analysts have said that write-downs of private assets are unlikely to reflect the extent of current market weakness.

Plunging initial public offering volumes and market scepticism towards money-losing start-ups have squeezed an important source of capital for SoftBank, which hopes to list chip designer Arm following the collapse of a sale to Nvidia.

The sell-off has hit hedge fund Tiger Global, which competes with “unicorn hunter” Mr Son on deals and saw its flagship fund fall 50 per cent in the first half of the year after it underestimated the impact of surging inflation on markets.

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