Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank Group reported earnings for the December quarter this week that revealed its Vision Fund division posted an investment loss of $5.5 billion and pulled back on startup investing.
The Vision Fund division’s huge losses dragged down SoftBank Group’s earnings to a net loss of $5.9 billion in the October-December quarter, compared with a $220 million profit a year earlier.
Once the world’s biggest investor in startups, SoftBank also reported that it had invested just $300 million into startups, down more than 90% from last year.
The tech investment company has invested in more than 450 companies since the launch of the first Vision Fund in 2017, spending more than $140 billion over the five years. Its past investments include Zhang Yiming’s ByteDance, Bom Kim’s Coupang and Anthony Tan’s Grab.
It was the first earnings report without Son, who founded SoftBank in 1981. The former richest person in Japan said in November he would be stepping away from earnings calls and step back from day-to-day operations at SoftBank to focus on taking Arm, a U.K. chip design company Son acquired in 2016, public within the next few years.
Son was ranked No. 3 on the most recent Japan’s 50 richest list with a fortune of $21.1 billion, down from No. 1 in 2021.