SoftBank's market value loses US$9 billion as Uber IPO flops

SoftBank's market value loses US$9 billion as Uber IPO flops

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Last week it reported that profit more than tripled thanks to valuation gain from its stake in Uber
3 -min read
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Tokyo

ON Thursday, as his company booked a US$3.8 billion gain from its stake in Uber Technologies, Masayoshi Son told SoftBank Group investors that their time had finally come. Instead, they're still waiting.

The day after Mr Son's earnings presentation, SoftBank slid 5.4 per cent and fell again on Monday, dropping as much as 4.9 per cent.

Uber's initial public offering was a flop with shares sliding on the first day of trading, at the same time the US and China escalated tensions over their trade dispute.

SoftBank has lost about US$9 billion in market value despite reporting last week that profit more than tripled thanks to the valuation gain from its stake in Uber.

Mr Son has been remaking SoftBank Group from primarily a telecommunications operator into a technology investment firm, and his US$100 billion Vision Fund has begun to show promise as a major contributor to earnings.

SoftBank's stock had rallied almost 60 per cent this year ahead of the earnings. But the slide in the past two trading days shows SoftBank will also now be vulnerable to the bad news from Mr Son's investment portfolio, as well as the good.

Uber opened at US$42, or 6.7 per cent below its US$45 IPO price. Shortly after, it slid to US$41.06. While the company briefly reclaimed almost all its losses by early afternoon, the comeback proved short-lived.

"Uber's debut didn't quite live up to the expectations, and that's why some investors are selling,'' said Tomoaki Kawasaki, an analyst at Iwai Cosmo Securities.

"It's too early to tell how sensitive SoftBank will be to Uber's price moves. But even if they fall some, that doesn't have a direct impact on Vision Fund profits."

The Vision Fund and SoftBank's own Delta Fund contributed 1.26 trillion yen (S$15.6 billion) to profit in the fiscal year ended March 31, or slightly more than half of the total.

In addition to Uber, SoftBank also booked a 203.4 billion yen valuation gain from its stake in Guardant Health, which went public in October, and a 154.2 billion yen gain on India's Oyo. It also recorded a 222.6 billion yen loss due to the share price decline in Nvidia Corp. BLOOMBERG