Seeking Alpha
 

SoftBank Group (SFTBF)

- OTCPK - Current
  • Mon, Aug. 24, 4:41 AM
    • Netflix announces it will partner with SoftBank for a launch in Japan.
    • Under the terms of the agreement, SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY, OTCPK:SFTBF) customers can sign up for Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) through retail centers and online.
    • Netflix's service in Japan will launch on September 2.  
    | 6 Comments
  • Wed, Aug. 19, 2:05 PM
    | 5 Comments
  • Wed, Aug. 19, 8:10 AM
    • Calling it a show of "commitment," SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY) President Nikesh Arora is buying about ¥60B ($483M) worth of the company's stock over the next six months.
    • At the closing price of ¥7,477 on Wednesday, his cash would buy just over 8M shares, making him the second largest individual investor after CEO Masayoshi Son.
    | 6 Comments
  • Tue, Aug. 18, 9:54 AM
    | 11 Comments
  • Mon, Aug. 3, 9:44 AM
    • Re/code reports leading Indian e-commerce marketplace Snapdeal has raised $500M from Alibaba (BABA -0.2%), SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF), and major contract manufacturer Foxconn. SoftBank is a prior investor, as is eBay.
    • The WSJ previously reported Alibaba and Foxconn are in talks to buy a ~10% stake at a ~$5B valuation. Snapdeal has been in pitched battle with archrival Flipkart (recently valued at $15.5B) in an Indian e-commerce market that still has much lower penetration rates than China's. Amazon has also been aggressively investing in the country.
    • Alibaba has also reportedly been thinking of taking major stakes in Indian phone OEM Micromax and payments/e-commerce platform Paytm. The company recently struck deals meant to drive trade between Indian and Chinese merchants. FQ1 results arrive on Aug. 12.
    | Comment!
  • Fri, Jul. 17, 1:50 PM
    • Warner Bros. (TWX -2%) is reportedly again competing to bid for DramaFever, an online video distributor of South Korean soap operas that SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY) paid $100M for in October.
    • Warner was among the bidders that were part of the fall sale, and acquiring control of DramaFever could speed up its own over-the-top service plans. SoftBank plans to keep a significant minority stake in the service.
    • The site -- which provides South Korea's soap operas with subtitles for a largely U.S. audience -- operates with a Hulu-like model, and like Hulu has recently been focusing on its subscription side.
    • During SoftBank's ownership, traffic to the site has tumbled nearly by half, to May's 1.18M unique visitors, though that measure doesn't count streamers such as Rokus or Apple TVs, and only accounts for some mobile viewing.
    | 1 Comment
  • Mon, Jun. 22, 7:00 AM
    | Comment!
  • Fri, Jun. 12, 9:20 PM
    • Macquarie Capital thinks SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY) founder Masayoshi Son is taking a more active role at beleaguered Sprint (NYSE:S), which could help the company get on keel in an industry sea roiled by consolidation tremors.
    • "We sense that the (network upgrade) plan has been thoroughly vetted by SoftBank CEO Son-san, who has personally taken a more active day-to-day role in Sprint's network deployment, cost cutting and financing activities," says Kevin Smithen, "which, in our opinion, has resulted in recent progress on churn and improved network performance in several markets."
    • Son has stayed out of the spotlight after failing to urge a Sprint/T-Mobile merger. But he's not the only one, Smithen notes, who can aid a turnaround: Nikesh Arora, now Softbank president and Son heir apparent, has revenue and ops experience that can help as Sprint faces a cash problem.
    • While a meeting with Sprint execs didn't get into specifics, Smithen writes: "We came away feeling that much has been happening behind the scenes and that Sprint's network plan is near finalization and a rapid, phased deployment over the next 18 to 24 months ... In our opinion, Sprint can complete its network densification at just around $5 billion per year due to very large price reductions from equipment vendors. ... We believe that Sprint would sell 20 to 40MHz of 2.5 GHz (spectrum) if it got a good offer."
    • Citigroup's Michael Rollins estimated Sprint would burn free cash of $6.1B in 2015, and yet SoftBank has not quite $100B in debt of its own getting in the way of helping out.
    | 24 Comments
  • Fri, Jun. 5, 8:50 PM
    • With T-Mobile and Dish Network talking about a tie-up that many agree makes sense, what about Sprint (S -0.8%), the struggling provider who's set to drop to fourth place in customer base?
    • T-Mobile and Dish could take advantage of Dish's large spectrum holdings to amp up the wireless network and add a growth engine to a satellite business in decline. AT&T is already pursuing its own satellite combination, with DirecTV. Verizon's moving into mobile video, but it will need more spectrum sooner or later.
    • Sprint, for its part, has large spectrum holdings but has had trouble building it out and holding on to customers. And with a cash burn problem, "it's running out of good options," says industry analyst Craig Moffett.
    • Sprint could try again to get T-Mobile for itself. That idea fell apart before on regulatory concerns, but will the climate have changed (or will it if the two wait until after the 2016 presidential election)?
    • If T-Mobile goes to Dish or another acquirer -- while Softbank (OTCPK:SFTBY -0.2%) invested in Sprint mainly to tie it to T-Mobile -- "Sprint's in a world of hurt," says Moffett.
    • All options might be on the table: Aside from going for T-Mobile, there's trying to elbow it aside to partner with Dish itself; joining up with a more merger-shy Comcast; or selling some of its spectrum haul for cash it may soon need.
    • Previously: Sprint CEO: We'll have best or second-best network in two years (May. 27 2015)
    • Previously: Sprint network: No need to buy spectrum in auction, CFO says (May. 19 2015)
    • Previously: Sprint: Amid network investment, cash burn back in focus (May. 06 2015)
    | 38 Comments
  • Wed, Jun. 3, 7:05 AM
    • Softbank (OTCPK:SFTBY) says it will invest $1B in South Korean online retailer Coupang, with the deal expected to close in July.
    • The investment will raise to around $1.5B the amount of money Coupang has raised so far this year.
    | Comment!
  • Mon, Jun. 1, 7:38 AM
    • SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY) has entered into an agreement with existing investors to purchase a further interest in Supercell, a subsidiary of the company in Finland.
    • SoftBank will acquire an additional 22.7% holding in the mobile gaming firm, bringing its total ownership to 73.2% (on a fully-diluted basis).
    • Previously: SoftBank acquires 51% stake in Supercell for $1.5B (Oct. 15 2013)
    | Comment!
  • Wed, May 27, 11:26 PM
    | 46 Comments
  • Thu, May 7, 9:30 AM
    • Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) has jumped to $89.05 after posting an FQ4 beat amid low expectations. Along with the results, the company has announced COO Daniel Zhang is its new CEO, effective May 10; current CEO Jonathan Lu will stay on board as vice chairman, joining Joseph Tsai in holding that title. Jack Ma remains executive chairman.
    • Revenue growth accelerated to 45% Y/Y from FQ3's 40%. Chinese marketplaces GMV rose 40% to RMB600B ($96.6B), a slowdown from FQ3's 49%. Mobile accounted for 51% of GMV, up from 42% in FQ3 and 36% in FQ2. Annual active buyers +5% Q/Q and +37% Y/Y to 350M.
    • A stabilizing monetization rate (revenue as a % of GMV) helped make the FQ4 beat possible: After falling 35 bps Y/Y in seasonally strong FQ3 to 2.7%, monetization rate fell just 1 bps Y/Y in FQ4 to 2.17%. Making this possible: Mobile monetization rate rose to 1.73% from 0.98% a year ago. Altogether, mobile revenue rose 352% Y/Y and was 40% of China retail marketplace revenue vs. 30% in FQ3 and 12% a year ago.
    • Segment performance: China retail commerce revenue +39% Y/Y to $2.11B. China wholesale +42% to $136M. International wholesale +19% to $190M. International retail +53% to $70M. Cloud computing/Web infrastructure +82% to $63M. Everything else (boosted by acquisitions) +169% to $243M. Taobao GMV +29% to $61B; Tmall GMV +62% to $35B.
    • Financials: Free cash flow +143% Y/Y to $914M; it trailed net income of $1.25B. R&D spend ($491M) was 17% of revenue vs. 10% a year ago; sales/marketing ($408M) was 15% of revenue vs. 11%; G&A ($400M) was 14% of revenue vs. 4%.  Soaring stock compensation expenses (driven by the IPO) contributed to the spending growth. Alibaba had $19.7B in cash at the end of March.
    • Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) has risen to $44.95 thanks to Alibaba. SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF) has seen the value of 797.7M-share Alibaba stake grow by over $7B.
    • Alibaba's FQ4 results, PR
    | 17 Comments
  • Sat, Apr. 25, 2:47 PM
    • "We already own enough of it, thank you very much," says SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF) Internet/media chief Nikesh Arora about Yahoo Japan (OTCPK:YAHOY). Yahoo's (NASDAQ:YHOO) recently-disclosed efforts to explore options for its 35.5% YJ stake had fueled speculation SoftBank (owns 43% of YJ) would try to buy the stake.
    • At the same time, Arora, formerly Google's sales chief, states SoftBank (has a portfolio of 1,300+ investments) is up for making new investments in growth companies ... at the right price. With valuations for private U.S. tech companies having soared, India, which has relatively low Web, smartphone, and e-commerce penetration rates and a new government widely seen as more business-friendly than its predecessor, has been an area of interest.
    • SoftBank led a $627M funding round in Indian e-commerce marketplace Snapdeal last year, and has been rumored to be weighing a major investment in low-end Indian Android OEM Micromax. It has also led a $600M round for Chinese ride-sharing platform Kuaidi Dache (recently merged with top rival Didi Dache), and invested $250M in top Southeast Asian ride-sharing platform GrabTaxi.
    • The Japanese conglomerate's 797.7M-share Alibaba stake (current pre-tax value of $67.5B) leaves it with plenty of fresh powder for further dealmaking.
    | 1 Comment
  • Thu, Apr. 2, 3:52 PM
    • Sprint (S +2.4%) has issued a statement to clarify that it is in discussions with Jay-Z's streaming music service Tidal -- but only to determine how to smooth the service's availability for Sprint customers.
    • The New York Post reported that Sprint and parent Softbank (OTCPK:SFTBY) had bought a minority stake in the subscription service that valued Tidal at $250M. Sprint is denying its investment and "confirms that, similarly, its parent company Softbank Corp. has not purchased a stake in Tidal."
    • At Jay-Z's big Tidal rollout event this week, the company's CIO Vania Schlogel said Tidal had been working closely with Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure.
    • Tidal claims to have signed up 100K subscribers since Monday's event.
    | 4 Comments
  • Thu, Mar. 26, 2:20 PM
    • Reuters reports an investor group led by SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF) is in talks with Indian phone OEM Micromax to buy a 20% stake in the company for $800M-$1B.
    • Canalys recently estimated Micromax passed Samsung to become India's top-selling smartphone vendor (Samsung begged to differ). The company's Android and feature phones have gained a strong following thanks both to their low prices and focus on the needs of emerging markets users.
    • Micromax was reported in January to be planning an IPO with Goldman and Morgan Stanley's help. As the owner of Sprint and Japan's #2 carrier, SoftBank could help Micromax expand into the world's two largest developed phone markets.
    | Comment!
Visit Seeking Alpha's
SFTBF vs. ETF Alternatives
Company Description
Sector: Technology
Country: Japan