SoftBank expands tech sector stock portfolio with $3.9bn investment

The Japanese conglomerate has invested into 25 of the world’s largest technology companies including Amazon and Tesla

Signage is displayed at the Tesla Inc. assembly plant in Fremont, California, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. Tesla shares jumped the most in a month after the electric-car maker said it would split its stock, making it more accessible to individual investors, with further boost from reports that said the company has set up an insurance brokerage in China. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

SoftBank has invested about $3.9 billion (Dh14.43bn) into 25 of the world’s largest technology companies including Amazon, Tesla, Netflix and Alphabet.

The Japanese conglomerate owned $1.04bn of Amazon stock, its biggest investment, a $475 million stake in Alphabet, $248.6m of Adobe and $189m of Netflix, the Tokyo-based company said in its latest filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Its stake in Tesla was worth $122.9m as of June 30, it said.

SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son is expanding the company’s investment activities from private start-ups to publicly traded equities at a time when the biggest technology stocks are near record highs. He unveiled a new asset management arm on an earnings call last week, saying it is part of a broader bet on transformative technologies. The Japanese company is targeting investments of more than $10bn in public stocks, according to sources familiar with the initiative.

The filing also shows a $183m stake in Microsoft, $111.5m in PayPal and $108.8m in Zoom. Also on the list were several Chinese names including streaming giants Bilibili and iQiyi as well as Singapore’s Sea, one of the world’s best performers over the past 18 months. While Mr Son has said SoftBank invested in Facebook and Apple, the companies were not listed among the latest disclosure of US-listed holdings.

SoftBank has notched some wins in public stocks over the past years. It profited from investments in Charter Communications in early 2018 and in US chip designer Nvidia. The latest filing showed SoftBank has taken a position in Nvidia worth $180.9m.

The asset management team is led by Akshay Naheta, a senior vice president in Abu Dhabi, the sources said. The group has been quietly amassing multibillion-dollar stakes in American big tech companies over the past few months, they said.

“As an investment company, we need to explore various angles and scope. But our focus is still on companies driving the information revolution,” Mr Son said during SoftBank’s most recent earnings presentation. “This is the purpose of our company.”