SoftBank profit swells 49% as it monetizes investments

Reuters TOKYO (Reuters) — SoftBank Group Corp. on Monday reported a 49 percent rise in first-quarter operating profit, boosted by the sale of its stake in Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart — the first public divestment by its Vision Fund.

The telecoms and technology firm’s profit was also bolstered by the sale of the majority of chip designer ARM Holding’s Chinese operations to a local consortium.

The sale of the stakes are early signs that SoftBank is able to monetize its investments — a key concern for investors that have seen billions of dollars pumped into tech companies around the world but little profit-taking.

SoftBank’s Saudi-Arabian backed Vision Fund, the world’s largest private equity fund, has invested $27.1 billion in 29 companies as of the end of June.

Those investments are now worth $32.5 billion, SoftBank said.

The fund has upended the world of dealmaking with splashy investments in companies such as ride-sharing platform Uber Technologies Inc., co-working firm WeWork Companies Inc. and chipmaker Nvidia Corp.

SoftBank is preparing to list its domestic telecoms unit to raise more cash to feed its insatiable investing activities in what could be Japan’s largest-ever initial public offering.

Profit for the three months through June was ¥715 billion from ¥479 billion a year earlier, SoftBank said.Speech

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