SoftBank Group – Mobile, Internet, Energy, Robot, Business

SoftBank

SoftBank Group is a Tokyo, Japan-based investment bank involved in seed investments as well as early and late-stage venture investments.

The company is a publicly traded multinational and is mainly focused on fixed-line telecommunications, broadband, internet, e-commerce, technology services, media and finance. 

Overview of SoftBank Group

SoftBank Group is a Tokyo, Japan-based investment bank involved in seed investments as well as early and late-stage venture investments. The company is a publicly traded multinational and is mainly focused on fixed-line telecommunications, broadband, internet, e-commerce, technology services, media and finance. SoftBank Group operates through four main divisions: mobile communications, sprint, fixed-line and internet. It is known for its progressive leadership by its founder Masayoshi Son who continues to serve as chairman and CEO of the company. 

In addition to its wide and varied business interests, SoftBank Group also supports various philanthropic initiatives mainly focused on disaster relief and environmental conservation. 

Brief History

The first iteration of SoftBank was founded by Masayoshi Son in September 1981 in Japan. Son was 24 years old at the time and the company was originally launched as a store selling computer parts. SoftBank branched off in 1982 into publishing when they launched Oh! MZ and Oh! PC magazines. The magazines were specifically about Sharp and NEC computers and distribution reached 140,000 in just over five years becoming the largest technology and computer publishing company in Japan. In 1986 the company was established as SoftBank Group. In years to come, SoftBank made significant investments into the internet services industry and joined forces with Yahoo! In 1996. More acquisitions were made in subsequent years as the company’s portfolio diversified and expanded. 
By 2018 the total value of SoftBank was over US$20 billion. As of March that year SoftBank had 66 subsidiaries, over 17,000 employees, more than 33 million mobile communications service subscribers and over 7 million broadband service subscribers. 

Geographically

The SoftBank Group headquarters are located in Tokyo, Japan. The company has a strong international presence and has subsidiaries and investments all over the world. The SoftBank Group vision is: ‘Becoming the corporate group needed most by people around the world.’

Significant Investments

SoftBank Group runs the largest technology fund in the world, Vision Fund. The company has made significant investments in companies such as:

  • Aldebaran Robotics – 95% shares
  • SoftBank Corporation – 99.00% shares
  • Alibaba Group – 29.5% shares
  • Sprint Corporation – 83% shares
  • Brightstar Corporation – 87.1% shares
  • Yahoo! Japan – 48.17% shares

SoftBank Group also owns SoftBank C&S Fortress Investment Group, Arm Holdings and Boston Dynamics outright as well as the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks – a leading Japanese baseball team. 

SoftBank Group in the News

In February 2019 CNBC Markets reported on SoftBank Group intending to repurchase 112 shares worth around US$5.5 billion. According to the report, the company’s third-quarter profit in 2018 soared with a 60% increase. Earlier in February BusinessReport featured SoftBank for adding US$14 billion to market value. The article stated that the company’s shares jumped by 17%. Reuters published an article in early 2019 about SoftBank’s investment in Mubadala Investment’s European technology fund. Reuters reported that SoftBank provided close to half of the investment amount to the Abu Dhabi-based state investor with the goal of investing in technology-focused start-ups around Europe.

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