Seeking Alpha

SoftBank Group (SFTBF)

- OTCPK - Current
  • Yesterday, 7:52 PM
    • SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY -1.6%) last month declared a plan to spread "several billions" each year in investments around the world, all set to be managed by president (and likely successor to Chairman Masayoshi Son) Nikesh Arora -- who certainly seems to prefer options in India over pouring more money into struggling Sprint (S +0.9%).
    • In an interview with Bloomberg on his strategy, Arora says that while they're focusing on later-stage startups with proven products, there's "money to be made in any stage, as long as you identify the right company."
    • While there are some 150 companies valued over $1B, Arora says there are about 1,000 companies over $500M: "That’s our universe. We believe with 1,000 companies we can interpret this universe and understand it with limited resources."
    • He says the best thing they can offer startups is "operational insights," rather than investment strategy or fund-raising help.
    • As for SoftBank trading at a discount to public assets: "There are three things that people worry about. One is what’s going to happen to Sprint. Two is what’s going on in China. And three is I hope Masa won’t do another Sprint." But as for Sprint, "Masa is unrelenting. He is working with [Sprint managers] almost every night for a few hours, 10 p.m. calls, or in the morning."
    • Previously: SoftBank planning "several billions" in annual global investment (Oct. 22 2015)
    • Previously: Sprint to target 'bloated' structure with $2.5B in cost cuts (Oct. 09 2015)
    | Yesterday, 7:52 PM | 4 Comments
  • Fri, Nov. 20, 8:00 AM
    • Sprint (NYSE:S-5% premarket following the announcement of $1.2B sale-leaseback plan.
    • Under the plan, a group of investors including Sprint (S) majority owner Softbank (OTCPK:SFTBF, OTCPK:SFTBY) will create a $1.2B into an entity to purchase the devices Sprint leases to customers.
    • Sprint will then lease back the devices from the new venture, giving it fresh funding "at an attractive cost of capital which is well below Sprint's alternatives in the high-yield debt market."
    • "Providing mobile devices to customers is the biggest use of cash in the carrier model, and with this new structure we have more closely aligned Sprint's cash flows with those associated with leasing devices to our customers,"  CFO Tarek Robbiati says.
    • The move will boost free cash flow, but reduce 2015 Ebitda by ~$400M.
    • Related: Sprint: Cost Cutting Is A Sign Of Desperation (Oct. 9)
    | Fri, Nov. 20, 8:00 AM | 37 Comments
  • Wed, Nov. 4, 4:39 AM
    • Japan's SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY) reported weaker-than-expected net profit for its fiscal second quarter, as it works to turn around Sprint (NYSE:S), the U.S. wireless carrier it bought in 2013.
    • Net income fell 56% from a year ago to ¥213B, missing analyst expectations of ¥262B.
    • At a news conference following the results, SoftBank Chairman Masayoshi Son said the company would slash thousands of jobs at Sprint in an effort to cut more than $2B of fixed annual costs from the struggling unit.
    | Wed, Nov. 4, 4:39 AM | 13 Comments
  • Mon, Sep. 21, 6:24 AM
    • The lockup on 63% of Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) shares ended on Saturday, freeing up the company's largest shareholders to start selling stock beginning today.
    • With Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) still working out what to do with its 15% stake amid tax uncertainties, investors battered by the e-commerce company's $128.5B market slump are bracing for the worst, such as more shares hitting the market and driving prices even lower.
    • Billionaire founder Jack Ma and Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai have pledged to keep their stock, while analysts expect SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY) to hold onto its shares.
    | Mon, Sep. 21, 6:24 AM | 78 Comments
  • Fri, Sep. 11, 10:23 AM
    • Masayoshi Son, Chairman of Japan's SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY -1%), entered into talks with an overseas partner, Bloomberg reports, for a management buyout of the $65B company earlier this year -- which would have been the biggest ever.
    • Son scrapped the plan reportedly as financing talk broke down.
    • With a 19.3% stake, Son is SoftBank's biggest shareholder. Applying an average Japanese-target premium, buying out the rest would cost about $68B -- more than double the total of such deals in Japan since 1999.
    • Shares are down 9.7% YTD in Tokyo and down 12.8% over the past year, meaning SoftBank's market value is less than the stakes it holds in other firms (Yahoo Japan, Alibaba Group Holding, Sprint).
    | Fri, Sep. 11, 10:23 AM | Comment!
  • Mon, Aug. 31, 5:04 PM
    | Mon, Aug. 31, 5:04 PM | 8 Comments
  • 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.  
    | Mon, Aug. 24, 4:41 AM | 6 Comments
  • Wed, Aug. 19, 2:05 PM
    | 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.
    | Wed, Aug. 19, 8:10 AM | 6 Comments
  • Tue, Aug. 18, 9:54 AM
    | 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.
    | Mon, Aug. 3, 9:44 AM | 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.
    | Fri, Jul. 17, 1:50 PM | 1 Comment
  • Mon, Jun. 22, 7:00 AM
    | 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.
    | Fri, Jun. 12, 9:20 PM | 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)
    | Fri, Jun. 5, 8:50 PM | 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.
    | Wed, Jun. 3, 7:05 AM | Comment!
Company Description
Sector: Technology
Country: Japan