SoftBank builds $1.6 billion Amazon stake; invests in Netflix, Tesla

TOKYO – SoftBank Group has built a worth around US$1.2 (S$1.64 billion) in e-commerce firm Amazon, regulatory filings showed on Monday (Aug 17), as the tech conglomerate expands its investing activities beyond its recent focus on unlisted startups.

Chief Executive Masayoshi Son last week announced a new investment management subsidiary that would park excess cash from a massive asset sale programme in liquid stocks. SoftBank has spent around US$10 billion buying shares.

In addition to Amazon, the group has built stakes in Netflix, Tesla, Microsoft and Alphabet, filings showed.

SoftBank also disclosed a in chip supplier Nvidia Corp worth around US$220 million based on Friday’s closing price. It exited its in the firm last year. SoftBank is currently in talks with Nvidia over a possible sale of chip designer Arm, media have reported.

The group is pivoting towards investing outside the US$100 billion Vision Fund with its focus on unlisted, late stage startups. The fund has buffeted the group’s earnings as the value of its holdings have fallen below acquisition price.

The value of many of the listed shares is rising, driven by a tech stock rally, with Tesla’s shares up more than 60% since the end of June. Son has dropped operating profit as a measure of his group’s performance, saying the value of the assets is a better yardstick.

SoftBank also disclosed stakes in Chinese video sites Bilibili Inc and iQIYI Inc. iQIYI is currently being probed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

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