SoftBank Group to Intensify AI Investments Following Record Asset Surge

SoftBank Group Corp. is set to ramp up its investments in artificial intelligence and other strategic areas after reporting significant financial gains and a surge in asset value. The Tokyo-based company posted a net income of $1.5 billion in the March quarter, recovering from a $366.8 million loss in 2023. This turnaround was driven by investment gains and a notable rise in the value of Arm Holdings Plc. following its IPO in 2023. Arm's stock rally boosted SoftBank’s net asset value to a record $178 billion, nearly double from a year earlier, providing the company with substantial leverage for new ventures.

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Founder Masayoshi Son is shifting focus from the Vision Fund, which has experienced recent losses, to concentrate on AI and semiconductors. The Vision Fund saw a $615.8 million loss due to markdowns on several unlisted startups. In contrast, SoftBank’s holding company is now at the forefront of strategic investments. With a cash reserve of $39.5 billion as of March 2024, Son aims to secure up to $100 billion for a new chip venture to compete with Nvidia Corp. and is considering acquiring British semiconductor startup Graphcore Ltd. CFO Yoshimitsu Goto indicated SoftBank’s strong financial position enables it to take significant investment risks.

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