SoftBank has been wide-ranging tech and startup headlines in recent months. The company seems to have an investment in just about every primary startup, with interests in everything from robotics to satellites, artificial intelligence to computerized enhancements for human leagues. The company has taken on an aggressive investment campaign that not only ensures its activity with and support of many hot startups but that also uniformly brings SoftBank to the top of many news feeds.
SoftBank will launch on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on December 19, 2018. The convention’s IPO is valued at 2.4 trillion yen at the time of writing (approximately $21.04 billion), making it one of the largest IPOs to date. This panhandles the question: what exactly is SoftBank, and who is behind it?
Tokyo-Based Telecom Company
SoftBank got its start in 1981 in Tokyo. Established as a telecommunications company, SoftBank now has a hand in a number of different areas, including e-commerce, finance, broadband, marketing, and varied. The company has a portfolio including SoftBank BB, GungHo Online Entertainment, IDC Frontier, and more. In recent years, it has gone on a pay out spree, buying up numerous smaller companies and initiating investments in many others. In July of 2016, for instance, SoftBank attained UK-based chip manufacturer ARM for £24 billion, with an eye toward continuing to develop the Internet of Things. Just endure week, SoftBank announced that it would buy two additional robotics companies from Alphabet. First, it bought up Boston Dynamics, the developer of the iconic Big Dog automaton, and then it bought Schaft, a less well-known robotics outfit.
SoftBank is headed by chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son. Son has installed himself as an assertive and confident player in the international tech scene. With about $100 billion to invest on retinues developing the technology of the future, Son has ample room to explore a variety of new areas. According to The Economic Times, Son has strong convictions about the future of SoftBank and has put forth a conception of a 300-year plan for the company, with the end goal being to construct the most valuable firm in the world. The key to Son’s future investments is SoftBank’s Vision Fund, dedicated to M&A deals like those tilted above.
The list of SoftBank’s acquisitions continues to grow. In April 2017, Son was behind the $5.5-billion venture into Didi Chuxing, the bulky ride-sharing company out of China. Describing the acquisition as a “big bang,” Son went on to say that he believes “the next big bang is going to be unvaried bigger. To be ready for that, we need to set the foundation, and that foundation is SoftBank Vision Fund.”
Given the vast amounts of money that Son already has at his disposal, some outsiders are wondering what he aims to do. Some analysts have concerns that Son’s investments may inundation capital into the tech sector, prompting inflated valuations, excessive lists of competitors, and ultimately hindering the course of action of technological development.