Skip to main content

This story is brought to you by The Daily Upside. For more crisp and insightful content, you can sign up for the free Daily Upside newsletter here.

It took two full decades, but shares of SoftBank — the operator of the world's largest technology-focused venture capital fund — have recovered to levels not seen since February 2000.

Shares climbed yesterday after SoftBank's Vision Fund posted its largest-ever quarterly profit of $8 billion.

Saved By An IPO Harvest
CEO Masayoshi Son displayed some serious moxie at the presentation.

With a PowerPoint slide depicting a goose laying golden eggs (each representing a SoftBank investment) and the tune of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker March” playing in the background, Son claimed, "investment is rhythm."

Capping off a turbulent 2020, Son focused on the large successes:

  • Uber and DoorDash, two companies that have benefitted from food delivery uptick during the pandemic, were the primary drivers behind the latest returns.
  • Vision Fund CFO Navneet Govil says he expects the streak to continue with several other portfolio company IPOs lined up this year including South Korean e-commerce group Coupang.

The Vision Fund's results are the culmination of a remarkable turnaround: in 2019 SoftBank reported a record $12.7 billion annual loss after the fund made several bad bets, including pouring $18.5 billion into WeWork.

Do Not Follow This North Star: The strong performance was hampered by Masayoshi Son himself, who frittered away $2.7 billion with ill-timed derivatives bets at the company's "SB Northstar" trading unit.

The Takeaway: While SoftBank is giving up most of its derivative bets, it will retain holdings in Silicon Valley titans Facebook and Amazon. Maybe it’s Son’s way of saying he should stick to golden eggs.


(Getty Images)

Masa Son’s Unicorns Were Actually Lemmings

The last year really could have gone somewhat better for SoftBank.


The Fall Of WeWork Has Destroyed The Last Pure Thing In Global Finance: Masayoshi Son's Profligate Whimsy

Seeing a hypothetical $40 billion go up in allegorical smoke is having an impact on the greatest living performance artist in finance.

Uber hindenburg

Masa Son Finding Out That Absurdly Big Numbers Aren't Always Fun

After Uber IPO disappoints, SoftBank looking to make it all back on the can't miss WeWork IPO.


Masayoshi Son Turning To Some Different Patrons For His New Piece Of Financial Performance Art

With the Saudis taking a pass, the deKooning of money turns to Goldman Sachs for funding of his new work.

(Getty Images)

Well, That Was Fast

Masa Son wastes no time getting back to wheeling and dealing (and maybe self-dealing).