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Softbank rolls in cash as Vision Fund and Sprint come good

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Japanese money train Softbank has continued to steam along as profits jump 50% with the inclusion of its Vision Fund, and some good behaviour from problem child Sprint.

Profit for the quarter stood at 479.3 billion yen, with total sales at 2.19 trillion yen, representing a marginal increase from the same period in 2016. Sales numbers generally hit expectations from the industry, though the profit boost is a nice little earner for the business, especially as it would have appeared to have turned around performance at Sprint.

Over in the US, operating revenue at Sprint increased by 2% year-on-year, but the value was felt in the cost reduction activities. Comparing the two quarters, Sprint has now slimmed down expenditure by almost $370 million, while operating income stood at $1.2 billion. That’s triple the amount from this quarter in 2016.

And while Sprint has certainly earned good-boy status, the domestic telco business is a slightly different story. This is a tale of declines, and while the team have pinned the slightly dampening performance on upfront costs across the quarter, there is no hiding the fact overall sales did decrease.

Another interesting development is the improvement in Yahoo Japan. While the US cousin might have been hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons, the Japanese business is looking relatively healthy. Advertising revenues were up 8% to 70 billion yen, while the team does now claim to have the largest selection of items on sale in Japan at 290 million. The revenues aren’t exactly dominating the Softbank financials, but it is a nice little earner for the team to have.

Looking more specifically at the Vision Fund, there were some pretty substantial wins here. Investments in Nvidia seem to be paying off as the group reported a 145% increase in data centre revenues and a 52% uplift in the automotive businesses. While it might not be one of the traditional players in the chip market, Nvidia is certainly making some waves. This is just one of the bets being made by Softbank, but when you look at the likes of ride-sharing company DiDi, healthcare company Guardant Health, or data analytics firm OSISoft, the trends are heading in the right direction.

Softbank is certainly not a company which is afraid about throwing some yen around, and this does seem to be trend which we are seeing over recent weeks. Most companies have performed reasonably well over the last couple of months, but Softbank can count itself alongside Deutsche Telekom as one of the star performers. And neither has been shy about splashing the cash. Fortune favours the brave is not a saying which we associate with the telco space much, but it is proving to be an accurate description here.


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