AP

Japan’s SoftBank logs $5.9B loss as tech investments tumble

Feb 7, 2023, 12:38 AM | Updated: 1:00 am

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese investor SoftBank Group reported Tuesday that it sank into a deep loss for the October-December quarter, slammed by the global plunge in technology shares.

SoftBank Group Corp. racked up a 783 billion yen ($5.9 billion) loss for the fiscal third quarter, a reversal from the 29 billion yen profit recorded the same period a year ago.

SoftBank invests in hundreds of companies, including mobile carrier SoftBank, web services provider Yahoo, vehicle-for-hire company Didi and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. It also runs the Vision Fund that includes other global investors.

SoftBank Group recorded nearly 512 billion yen ($3.9 billion) in losses on investments during the quarter, as prices of its shareholdings and funds nose-dived, it said.

Various uncertainties have slammed Japanese companies recently, such as soaring material costs and rising interest rates. Tensions such as the war in Ukraine have also added to what tends to work as negatives for SoftBank’s sprawling portfolio of investments.

Quarterly sales edged up 6% on year to 1.69 trillion yen ($12.8 billion).

Over the last year, Tokyo-based SoftBank Group raised money using Alibaba shares and selling shares in European telecommunications company T-Mobile, while exiting or partially exiting companies like Uber, according to the company.

Earlier this month, group company Z Holdings decided to merge the messaging app company Line and Yahoo Japan, a move aimed at boosting synergies and better focusing on products. Besides those two companies, Z Holdings also owns PayPay, a major Japanese mobile payment system.

SoftBank’s charismatic founder and chief executive Masayoshi Son has often managed to put a positive spin on his vision, even in the most challenging times.

He has said putting your money on artificial intelligence, massive data and robotics will pay off as paving the way for future innovation. He was one of the first believers in the internet business, long before the idea caught on in Japan.

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Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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Japan’s SoftBank logs $5.9B loss as tech investments tumble