Softbank, one of the major investors in technology startups, experienced a profitable quarter and has expressed interest in investing in ride-sharing giants Uber or Lyft.
The prolific investors said its quarterly profit rose “50% from a year ago to 479 billion yen ($4.32 billion) after it included Vision Fund, the world’s largest private equity fund, as a new reportable segment and booked a 105 billion yen gain on its stake in graphics chip maker Nvidia.”
Vision Fund is backed by major investors including Apple, Foxconn, and Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. They’ve reportedly raised more than $93 billion. Its backers expect the company to meet the 44% internal rate of return that SoftBank claims SoftBank’s CEO and founder Masayoshi Son delivered by investing in internet firms the past 18 years. If Vision Fund comes through on their end, Son reassures that they have the potential to bring in several hundred billion yen in revenue.
When asked about choosing between the two rival ride-sharing companies, Son said:
“We are interested in discussing with Uber, [but] we are also interested in discussing with Lyft. We haven’t decided which way, but [the] U.S. is a very big market — it’s [the] most important market — so we are definitely very much interested in the U.S. market. Whether we decide to partner and invest into Uber or Lyft, I don’t know what will be the end result…This is the shared economy and one of the most important industries, I think the way people use the transportation and the lifestyle will be different from today [compared to in] 30 years [or] 50 years.”
SoftBank made investments in other ride-sharing companies before including Grab in Southeast Asia and China’s Didi Chuxing. Now we’ll wait and see which U.S.-based ride-hailing company will receive an investment next.