Snakes and ladders: SoftBank Vision Fund’s climbing, sliding valuations


(Reuters) – The $100 billion Vision Fund of Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) has in just over two years burned through much of its capital investing in money-losing, late-stage tech startups in areas as varied as autonomous driving, healthcare and finance.

FILE PHOTO: Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp Chief Executive Masayoshi Son attends a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

The IPO flop of office-sharing firm WeWork, one of its biggest bets, and plunging valuations of other major investments such as ride-hailing pioneer Uber have cast a cloud over the efforts of SoftBank founder and Chief Executive Masayoshi Son to raise a second giant fund.

With WeWork trying to raise new capital, SoftBank has proposed a further $5 billion investment in the money-losing startup, sources told Reuters this week.

Following are highlights of the investments and performance of SoftBank Vision Fund, whose first major close was in 2017.


* $11.8 billion in Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing

* $10.7 billion in U.S.-based office sharing startup WeWork parent The We Company (total includes SoftBank Group investment)

* $7.7 billion in U.S. ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc (UBER.N)

* $3 billion in Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab

* $3 billion in South Korean e-commerce firm Coupang

Note: investment figures from company filings, Reuters reports


* The fund has invested $71.4 billion in 83 firms, recording $20.2 billion in investment gains and distributing $6.4 billion to its investors as at the end of June.

* SoftBank contributed $20.5 billion to the fund. The firm has $25.3 billion in unrealized investment gains, $3.2 billion in undistributed manager performance fees and $1.6 billion in realized proceeds.


* The Vision Fund’s $20.2 billion of investment gains are mostly on paper and its valuations are under growing downward pressure as shares in four of the fund’s five listed portfolio firms have fallen sharply in the three months through September.

Those newly listed firms are Uber, Slack Technologies Inc (WORK.N), Guardant Health Inc (GH.O), ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance Co Ltd (6060.HK) and Ping An Healthcare and Technology Co Ltd (Ping An Good Doctor) (1833.HK).

* The two major realized gains are from sales of its investments in Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart and U.S. chipmaker Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O).

Shares in SoftBank Group fell over the same period.


* Transportation & logistics:

Notable investments: Uber, Didi, Grab, General Motors Co’s (GM.N) self-driving unit Cruise, food delivery firm Doordash and German used-car dealing platform Auto1.

Total investments: $28.3 billion. SoftBank reported their worth at $33 billion at June-end.

* Frontier tech:

Notable investments: Chip designer Arm, autonomous robotics firm Brain, self-driving car camera firm Light and virtual simulation firm Improbable.

Total investments: $10.5 billion. Now worth $11.2 billion.

* Consumer tech:

Notable investments: Coupang, Indonesian e-commerce firm Tokopedia, Indian hotel chain Oyo and online grocer Grofers, U.S. indoor farming firm Plenty and dog walking app Wag.

Total investments: $10.1 billion. Now worth $14.8 billion.

* Real estate:

Notable investments: WeWork, online real estate marketplaces Compass and Opendoor and construction firm Katerra.

Total investments: $8 billion. Now worth $9.9 billion.

* Fintech:

Notable investments: Indian QR code payment app Paytm, online lenders Kabbage and Oaknorth and online insurance firms ZhongAn in China and PolicyBazaar in India.

Total investments: $3.7 billion. Now worth $4.2 billion.

* Health tech:

Notable investments: China’s Ping An Good Doctor, U.S. cancer testing firm Guardant and Swiss drugmaker Roivant Sciences.

Total investments: $2.8 billion. Now worth $4.7 billion.

* Enterprise:

Notable investments: Workplace messaging app Slack, data storage firm Cohesity and mapping company Mapbox.

Total investments: $2.7 billion. Now worth $4.1 billion.

Sources: SoftBank and portfolio company documents and filings.

Reporting by Anirban Sen and C Nivedita in Bengaluru and Sam Nussey in Tokyo; Additional reporting by Heekyong Yang; Editing by Miyoung Kim and Christopher Cushing

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