SoftBank posts $17 bil. Vision Fund loss on tech slump

Reuters/File photo
SoftBank Group CEO Masayoshi Son speaks at a news conference in London in 2016.

TOKYO (Reuters) — SoftBank Group Corp 9984.T on Monday posted a ¥2.33 trillion ($17.23 billion) loss at its Vision Fund unit in the April-June quarter as the value of its tech 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 net loss in the latest quarter. That compared with profit of ¥761.5 billion in the same period a year earlier.

SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son, who will speak at an earnings briefing from 4:30 p.m., has pledged to tighten investing criteria and preserve cash to weather the downturn.

In the quarter ended in June, falling listed investments included robotics firm AutoStore Holdings Ltd AUTO.OL and artificial intelligence firm SenseTime Group Inc 0020.HK.

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

Plunging initial public offering volumes and market skepticism towards money-losing startups 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” Son on deals and saw its flagship fund fall 50% in the first half of the year after it underestimated the impact of surging inflation on markets.