We’ve been following Softbank for over three years now. The Japanese giant has gone through the rollercoaster ride and back. Back in 2019, SoftBank reported its first quarterly loss in 16 years after it posted an $8.9 billion loss due to its investments in Uber and WeWork. At the time, the naysayers and the critics blamed the company for its investment model.
“My investment judgment was poor in many ways and I am reflecting deeply on that,” Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son, 64, told a news conference following the results. It was a remarkable admission for an executive well known for his ebullience.
Fast forward almost three years later, SoftBank reported today a record $36.99 billion (4.03 trillion yen) Vision Fund unit profit from a fourth-quarter investment gain on Coupang, putting it among the world’s biggest earning firms a year after an unprecedented loss. Its annual profit is the largest posted by a Japanese company to date, according to reports from The New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
The group net profit was 4.99 trillion yen ($45.88 billion) in the year ended March, topping the $42.5 billion made by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway in its last business year. It also compares with a 962 billion yen loss a year earlier after teetering tech bets depressed the value of Softbank’s portfolio.
“It’s clearly validation of Masa’s thesis,” Navneet Govil, Vision Fund’s chief financial officer, told Reuters in an interview, referring to company founder and CEO Masayoshi Son.
Founded in 1981 by Masayoshi Son in September 1981, the Tokyo, Japan-based SoftBank is a multinational telecommunications and internet corporation focused on broadband, fixed-line telecommunications, e-commerce, internet, technology services, finance, media and marketing, and other businesses. Softbank is the sixth-largest telephone operating company by total revenue $74.7 billion. The company has invested in a lot of startups including Uber.