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SoftBank vows to bolster start-up investment at shareholders’ meeting

  • June 20, 2018
  • , Kyodo News , 4:27 p.m.
  • English Press

TOKYO — SoftBank Group Corp. chief executive Masayoshi Son said Wednesday that the company will bolster its investment business in a shift in the telecommunications-oriented company’s growth strategy.

 

“I have used 97 percent of my brain to consider the telecom businesses but will shift that to investments,” Son said at a meeting with more than 2,300 shareholders in Tokyo.

 

Son, one of most influential investors in the technology industry, said his company will strengthen its focus on investments in start-up ventures with artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies through its $100 billion Vision Fund set up last year with partners such as Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

 

“We are the unicorn (company) hunter,” Son said of an unlisted start-up valued at more than $1 billion.

 

Among its recent investment projects, SoftBank has taken a stake in ride-hailing service provider Uber Technologies Inc. and has also bought U.S.-based robotics company Boston Dynamics. The company has also invested in British semiconductor designer ARM Holdings plc.

 

The CEO said the fund has covered more than 30 companies since its establishment last May.

 

At the meeting, shareholders approved the appointment of three new vice presidents — Katsunori Sago, Marcelo Claure and Rajeev Misra.

 

Son said the company continues to prepare for the listing of shares of its mobile unit SoftBank Corp. that could rival Japan’s largest-ever IPO, the 1987 listing of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. for some 2.2 trillion yen.

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