Soft Bank – company overview

SoftBank? You’ve probably come across this name before, or maybe you haven’t. Well, either way, you’re in the right place if you want to know more about this company. Softbank Group is a multinational corporation that is rooted in Japan.

SoftBank is an extremely large company. Not just because of how much it earns but because of how diversified it is. The company owns major shares in many, massive companies including; Softbank Vision Fund, Arm Holdings, Fortress Investment Group, Boston Dynamics, Alibaba, Yahoo Japan, Uber these are only a few of the companies that soft bank is a part of. 

SoftBank is a multinational conglomerate holding company that is based in Japan. The headquarters of this company is located in Tokyo. As of now, this company is managed by SoftBank Corp. On the other hand, funds of SoftBank are covered by Vision Fund, which is the largest technology-focused venture capital fund that you can find out there in the world. 

The founder of SoftBank is Masayoshi Son. He is a true example of a visionary leader. Under his leadership, SoftBank was able to achieve lots of success in the past. As of now, SoftBank operates in fixed-line communications, broadband communications, technology services, internet services, e-commerce, media, finance, semiconductor design, and marketing. SoftBank is a company that was able to get in the Forbes Global 2000 company list. You can also call it as the 36th largest public company located in the entire world. This is the second-largest company based in Japan apart from Toyota.

If I were to personally describe Soft Bank, I’d say that instead of being a large pillar-like Microsoft and other tech companies, Soft bank takes the form of a tree that stands strong and spreads its roots across a vast variety of organizations.

Another strong vein of Soft Bank is the fact that it also runs Vision Fund. Vision Fund is recognized as the world’s largest technology-focused venture capital fund, with over $100 billion in the capital.

History

The SoftBank Group of today was originally founded in September 1981 as a SOFTBANK Corp. By Masayoshi Son. At the time Masayoshi was a 24 year old and SoftBank was meant to be a software distributor. By 1982, Softbank started publishing media. It launched this new phase with the release of the Oh! PC and Oh! MZ magazines. These magazines were about NEC and Sharp computers respectively. They were successes because as of 1989, Oh!PC  had a circulation of 140,000 copies. This paved a way for them because SoftBank would go on to become Japan’s largest publisher of computer and technology magazines and of trade shows. In 1994 the company went public and was valued at $3 billion.

Masayoshi made large forays into Internet services back in the nineties. They managed to make a joint venture with rising American internet company Yahoo!, In 1996. This led to the creation of Yahoo! Japan, which would go on to become a dominant site in the country. SoftBank became a holding company late in 1999. 

Soft bank’s most successful investment ever was the one made in 2000. They put in $20 million into a Chinese start-up internet venture called Alibaba. At the time the name wasn’t known and Softbank’s move might have been considered bad. However, this investment turned into $60 billion when Alibaba went public in more recent years; September 2014 to be precise.

SoftBank became the owner of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, a Nippon Professional Baseball team, in January 2005. Softbank also announced its plan to buy Vodafone Japan, giving it a stake in Japan’s $78 billion mobile markets. They also bought stakes in Betfair, an Internet betting exchange, in April 2006. Then again, on the 1st of October 2006, Vodafone Japan changed its corporate name to SoftBank Mobile. This led to a change in its mobile phone brand name and its mobile phone domain name to SoftBank, and [mb.softbank.jp], respectively.

It was announced that SoftBank and Tiffany & Co. collaborated in making a limited 10 model-only cellphone. This took place in January of 2008. The phones contained more than 400 platinum diamonds, totaling more than 20 carats. This project was said to cost more than 100,000,000 yen.

SoftBank decided to take control of American Sprint Nextel in October 2012. They did this by purchasing a 70% stake for $20 billion.  SoftBank’s acquisition of the Sprint Corporation for $22.2 billion was approved by the United States Federal Communications Commission in July 2013. This involved a payment of $17.2 billion in cash to Sprint shareholders, with the balance $5 billion as a capital contribution. SoftBank bought 2% more shares of Sprint Corporation, increasing its ownership stake in the company to 80%, On 6 August 2013

As is shown quite blatantly, m SoftBank is an aggressive investor and has made a lot of major investments. With their ability to spot potential, they have managed to spread their reach across tons of important companies that sprung up in the 90s and early 2000s. They have continued this tactic in the new century and beyond.

SoftBank acquired DramaFever in 2015. Masayoshi stepped down as the president of SoftBank in May 2015. He appointed Nikesh Arora, a former Google executive, to take his place as Representative Director and President of SoftBank. Nikesh was already working as the head of SoftBank’s investment arm(basically their main source of funds). SoftBank announced it would invest US$1 billion in the Korean e-commerce website Coupang as part of its overseas expansion plans in June 2015

In July of that same year, SoftBank commenced the renaming of the company from SoftBank Corp. to SoftBank Group Corp. SoftBank mobile was also renamed to SoftBank. The next year, SoftBank announced they would repurchase a record 14.2% of shares, valued at $4.4bn. this move was made in order to boost investor confidence. They also announced that they would sell shares worth $7.9 billion of their stake in Alibaba Group. Then again, in June of 2016, Softbank agreed to sell most of its stake in GungHo Online Entertainment for about $685 million. This would end Softbank’s majority ownership of the company, resulting in Gungho no longer being an associate of Softbank. Gungho accepted this and the deal was sealed by 22 June, thus allowing Gungho to become an independent company.

This buying and selling strategy of SoftBank is what has made them rise up since they began back in the 80s. Rather than trying to make their own products and services, they focus on funding smaller businesses to grow into multimillion-dollar companies. This is the strategy that has been used since their genesis by their founding father; Masayoshi Son. They just keep racking up the acquisitions.

SoftBank’s acquisitions continue to grow. In April of last year, Masayoshi was behind the $5.5-billion venture into Didi Chuxing, the massive ride-sharing company out of China. Describing the acquisition as a “big bang,” Son went on to say that he believes “the next big bang is going to be even bigger. To be ready for that, we need to set the foundation, and that foundation is SoftBank Vision Fund.” This summarizes exactly what SoftBank has done throughout the years.

So, SoftBank was discovered back in the year 1981. The founder of SoftBank was Masayoshi Son. He was just 24 years old when he discovered the company. Back in the day, it was a software distribution company. However, the company got into the publishing business after several years. Oh! Magazine and Oh! PC Magazine was launched by the business. These magazines were quite popular in Japan back in the day. There was a high demand for magazines during trade shows that existed within the country.

Back in the year 1994, SoftBank was able to become a public company. By that time, the value of this company was measured at $3 billion. It later agreed to purchase Ziff Davis Publishing Company for a price of $2.1 billion. 

SoftBank was able to experience a rapid expansion from the year 1995 to 2009. The company was able to start offering internet services from the year 1996. That’s mainly because the company got into a joint venture along with Yahoo in the same year. This is where Yahoo Japan was established. Along with that, it was able to become a dominant website in Japan as well. 

Business units of SoftBank

As of now, SoftBank holds numerous business units. These different business units provided much-needed assistance for the company to become a giant player in the Japanese industry. The companies owned by SoftBank as of now include data center, broadband company, publishing company and gaming company. Moreover, SoftBank has a company that offers financial services for the people who are based in Japan as well. 

From the year 2005, SoftBank was able to become the owner of SoftBank Hawks baseball team. The company is currently working in eco-power industry as well. In addition to that, the company has multiple partnerships with several Japanese subsidiaries. They include partnerships with companies such as Ustream.tv, Yahoo, E-trade, and EF Education. 

Services offered by SoftBank

As of now, SoftBank is offering a variety of services for people in Japan. Here’s a quick overview of the most prominent services that SoftBank is offering. 

  • Domestic telecommunications 

SoftBank is one of the leading companies that empower domestic telecommunications in Japan. This is the second largest reporting segment of the company as well. Under the segment, the company is selling mobile devices. On the other hand, the company offers mobile broadband services and mobile communications as well. It is one of the most trusted companies among people in Japan to get their telecommunication requirements catered. 

Among people in Japan, fixed-line telephone offerings and data communication services offered by SoftBank are quite popular. In fact, a large number of enterprise customers in the country stick to SoftBank and obtain the services that are available to them.

SoftBank has divided the domestic telecommunication services offered within the country into two prominent segments. They include mobile commerce services and communication services. When you take a look at the communication services, you will be able to see how SoftBank is providing mobile communication services to the customers who are from Y! Brand as well as SoftBank brand. Both retail and corporate clients will be able to purchase the services that are offered by the brand.

  • Yahoo Japan 

Yahoo Japan is one of the oldest services offered by SoftBank. Yahoo Japan was established along with a joint venture with Yahoo Inc. in the United States. As of now, SoftBank is holding 36.4$% shares of Yahoo Japan. This is the largest shareholder for Yahoo in Japan as well. Yahoo Japan is mainly generating revenues through online advertisements. Moreover, it is offering membership services and e-commerce services for the people in need. You will be able to find how the e-commerce services offered by Yahoo Japan are quite popular among people in the country.

  • ARM

ARM was added into the services managed by SoftBank back in the year 2016. This is where SoftBank was able to acquire ARM Holdings PLC. It was a software design and semiconductor company based in the UK. Along with the acquisition, the company was able to reach many great heights in the software development industry. It was able to generate net sales worth more than billion per year in the same year.

  • Robotics

SoftBank is a company that actively engages in Robotics as well. In fact, the company was able to make headlines back in the year 2017 when they developed robot legs with four legs. In addition to that, they were able to make robots that are pretty much similar to humans as well. 

  • Investments 

Back in the year 2017, SoftBank went ahead and made a public announcement saying that it is looking forward to offering a $100 billion investment fund for the technology companies that exist out there. Investors from all parts of the world were provided with benefits out of it. You can find how a large number of companies, such as Slack, Didi, and Uber are experiencing the positive returns out of these investments.