SoftBank Group Corp is reportedly preparing to implement a new round of staff reductions within its Vision Fund investment arm, as part of the Japanese conglomerate’s ongoing cost-cutting efforts.
According to two individuals familiar with the matter, this move comes in response to the heavy investment losses incurred by the Vision Fund unit.
The potential layoffs, which may affect up to 30% of the unit’s workforce, including employees in the United States, are expected to be announced within the next two weeks. As of the end of March, the Vision Fund unit had 349 employees, as stated in a company report.
To maintain confidentiality, the sources declined to reveal their identities, and SoftBank declined to provide any comments regarding the matter.
As plan be ultimately approved, it would come after the removal of about 150 positions within the investment arm and SoftBank Group International, which occurred in September.
SoftBank, known for its aggressive investments in technology companies such as Klarna and ByteDance (the parent company of TikTok), has faced a decline in the valuation of its portfolio due to several factors.
These include significant interest rate hikes and the escalating tensions between the United States and China. In its financial report, SoftBank disclosed an annual net loss of 970 billion yen ($7.2 billion) for the fiscal year ending on March 31. To mitigate the investment losses within the Vision Fund unit, the group reduced its stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
By the end of March, the portfolio of Vision Fund 2 was valued at $31 billion, compared to its acquisition cost of $49.9 billion.
In response to these challenges, SoftBank has significantly scaled back its investment activities, and its CEO, Masayoshi Son, has withdrawn from public presentations to focus on the listing of chip designer Arm.
Arm, based in Cambridge, England, has confidentially filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in the United States, which is anticipated to take place later this year. This IPO is expected to inject much-needed capital into SoftBank.
In a related development, Intel is reportedly in discussions with Arm to become an anchor investor in the chip designer’s IPO, according to a source familiar with the matter.
These discussions highlight the potential involvement of major players in the industry to support Arm’s public offering.
SoftBank Gears Up for new Layoffs
Following the news of the potential staff reductions, SoftBank’s shares experienced a 5% increase in Tuesday morning trade.
Despite its defensive approach to stabilize its financial position, the conglomerate indicated in May that it aims to strike a balance between defense and offense, potentially signaling a willingness to make future investments.
SoftBank’s declining portfolio valuation, influenced by factors such as interest rate hikes and geopolitical tensions, has prompted a reassessment of its investment strategies.
While the layoffs may help to optimize resource allocation and stabilize the company’s financial position, the long-term impact on SoftBank’s ability to identify and invest in promising tech companies remains uncertain. Restructuring the Vision Fund unit may reshape the company’s investment landscape, potentially limiting future opportunities for growth.
However, reducing the workforce by up to 30% could have broader implications for the company’s ability to pursue new investment opportunities and maintain its position as an aggressive investor in the tech industry.
The layoffs may lead to a reevaluation of the company’s investment strategies and a focus on core areas of growth, but the long-term consequences for SoftBank’s future performance and market position remain uncertain.
In conclusion, SoftBank Group Corp is reportedly planning to implement layoffs within its Vision Fund investment arm as part of its ongoing efforts to cut costs.
The company has faced significant investment losses, resulting in a decline in portfolio valuation. These potential staff reductions follow a previous round of job cuts and reflect SoftBank’s strategy to address its financial challenges.
However, the conglomerate has also expressed its intention to find a balance between defense and offense, suggesting the possibility of future investments.