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Softbank is a Japanese multinational conglomerate holding company. It was established by Masayoshi Son in September 1981 and is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. It is one of the largest public company's in the world.
Softbank has stakes in multiple companies around the world, including Softbank Corp, Alibaba, Yahoo Japan, Uber, Didi Chuxing, Ola, Slack, Ping An, Paytm, and WeWork. It has made notably large investments into some of these companies, including its 2017 $9bn investment into Uber, and its much-publicised, multi-billion dollar investments into co-working venture WeWork.
Softbank is internationally known for its Vision Fund and Vision Fund II. In 2017, Softbank partnered with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia to create the original Softbank Vision Fund, the largest private equity fund at a capital of $93bn. The fund's aim is the invest in companies developing AI technologies across various sectors. In July 2019, Vision Fund II was created, with investors including Apple and Microsoft. The fund would once again be AI-based, and ihas reportedly reached an investment of around $108bn.
SoftBank's multinational telecommunications and internet corporation focuses on broadband, fixed-line telecommunications, e-commerce, internet, technology services, finance, media and marketing, and other businesses. The company operates through four major segments: mobile communications, the 'sprint' segment, fixed line telecommunications and the internet.
SoftBank Corp. also generates and sells electricity from renewable energy sources; provides payment processing, invoice collections, and computation services for businesses; distributes video, voice, and data content via media; operates IT information site ITmedia; provides solutions and services for online businesses; and operates online games and software downloads.
Softbank's revenue was reported at ¥9.15tr in 2018. It has around 75,000 employees.
In November 2018, Softbank announced it will make an IPO. The move would value Softbank at $21.15bn, the second largest IPO in history.
In 2020 the Japanese tech giant began to shed assets worth of up $41bn to fund a share buyback and cut debt. With stakes in Sprint, Alibaba, Paytm, Ola and many other successful brands the move has been welcomed by investors and potential buyers. The move came after the Covid-19 caused a global impact on the economy, and the company's $100bn Vision Fund recorded two consecutive quarters of losses.
In 2020, SoftBank posted a $13bn loss for FY 2019, in thanks to a $17.7bn loss on valuation from its Vision Fund. It lost almost $10bn from Uber and WeWork investments alone.
SoftBank announced it would invest at least $150k into 14 companies run by founders from minorities as part of its Emerge accelerator programme, in June 2020.
In October 2020, it was reported that SoftBank's Vision Fund was preparing a 'blank cheque acquisition company', with plans due to announced in the next few weeks.
In July 2021 private sources revealed SoftBank was planning to invest $5bn into LatAm-based companies, with the new investment possibly used to create SoftBank Latin America Fund 2. The Japanese firm first stepped in the LatAm market in 2000 when it set up SoftBank Latin America Ventures to invest in startups in the region.
SoftBank was established by Masayoshi Son in September 1981 and is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.