SoftBank’s Funds Post $27 Billion Loss on Plunging Tech Investments

The news has gone from bad to worse for SoftBank.

The Japanese conglomerate said on Thursday that it had lost about $27 billion in its two Vision Funds for the year that ended in March, as many of the major tech companies it invests in have struggled under rising inflation and concerns about Covid lockdowns in China.

The company lost $13.2 billion as a whole for the fiscal year, the latest sign of its severe change in fortunes just a year after it announced that it had earned more money in one quarter than any Japanese company in history.

SoftBank’s eccentric founder, Masayoshi Son, has for years grabbed headlines for eye-popping purchases as he transformed his firm into a holding company for tech firms that seemed set to boom. But those big bets have collapsed, as the grab bag of big-name start-ups the company staked its future on performed poorly in recent months.

Masayoshi Son, the company’s founder, transformed his firm into a holding company for tech firms that seemed set to boom.Credit…Kim Kyung Hoon/Reuters

Many of Mr. Son’s biggest public investments have slumped on a mix of American sell-offs in tech firms and a Chinese regulatory crackdown that has targeted the technology industry for more than a year.

Major investments in companies like the Chinese ride-hailing app Didi Global and the South Korean e-commerce firm Coupang have soured. Both of those companies have seen their value nearly halved amid the recent market turbulence.

In anticipation of a difficult earnings report, SoftBank’s shares fell roughly 8 percent in Thursday trading. Mr. Son, who has acknowledged the difficulties, has also strived to strike an upbeat outlook, arguing that investments in next-generation technologies like artificial intelligence will eventually pay off.

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