This article was originally published in Chinese on Momentum Works’s WeChat official account. Translated here into English by Momentum Works team.
Softbank had a good 2020. In the recent investor briefing, Masayoshi Son revealed that for the first three quarters of 2020 financial year (which ends in March 2021), Softbank Group has generated 3 trillion Japanes yen, or US$28.4 billion, of net profit.
A particular bright spot is the vision fund, which was under a lot of doubt for the last year and half.
Although, did anyone notice that the first slide used by Son was … a goose?
The next slide, using the same ‘pond’-y colour, looks normal. Softbank Group is an investment company, it says:
Well, the title investment company is not cool enough. In fact, Softbank Group is a manufacturer of golden eggs:
The five golden eggs laid by the Goose during the information revolution are: Alibaba, Yahoo Japan, Softbank KK (Japanese telco business), Sprint and ARM.
This slide summarises the number of IPOs in the portfolio since 1996, and you can see the numbers jumping up since 2018:
Softbank has called the hatching strategy “Turbocharger”, including: bigger vision, more capital, and group synergies.
As if just Powerpoint is not exciting enough, Son played animation with music from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker:
Undervalued goose in 2014
In fact, this is not the first time Son compares Softbank to the famous goose in Aesop’s fables. In the Q3 2014 results announcement, Son already mentioned about the goose that lays golden eggs:
He mentioned that Softbank has a lot of eggs not laid still. He was mentioning that because the market cap of Softbank was barely higher than the value of Alibaba shares it held:
And that was an important quarter for Softbank, because Alibaba just went IPO:
Son did not forget to include a happy photo of him with Jack Ma:
At the same event, Son also introduced the investments into OLA, Snapdeal, and Tokopedia. More importantly, he introduced the later head of Vision Fund, Rajeev Misra, who just joined Softbank:
More golden eggs?
Son also mentioned about the investment portfolio of two Vision Funds, plus LatAm fund – altogether 164 companies:
Many of them are golden eggs already laid, or just going through the turbocharger process.