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Masayoshi Son sees jaw-dropping $1.8-trillion value of SoftBank-backed companies in these many years

Sandeep Soni
Softbank, the Japanese mobile subsidiary of Softbank Group Corp., listed its shares in December in Japan's largest-ever initial public offering (Reuters photo)

Even as one of the world’s biggest backers of startups — SoftBank is getting a tepid response from some of the biggest investors globally to invest in its second Vision Fund, its founder and CEO Masayoshi Son is doubling down on the potential of its existing portfolio companies as it envisions multi-fold rise in their value over the next 20 years.

At SoftBank’s 39 annual general meeting of shareholders on Wednesday, Son highlighted the expected growth of market cap of SoftBank’s investment portfolio to $1.8 trillion (200 trillion yen) by 2040 at 15 per cent annual growth rate in one of the presentations. The market cap for the companies back in 2010 stood at $25 billion (2.7 trillion yen) that grew to $92.2 billion by June 2019.

However, Son added a caveat to this growth that perhaps seems bit eccentric. “…this is not a business plan, Son said adding that it s a tall tale.

The presentation also talked about Son’s vision to expand his employee base from 415 members at SoftBank Investment Advisors to 1,000 members globally.

Son’s bet on the portfolio companies for next 20 years and enhancing its investment team is critical given the fact that SoftBank has been planning another $100 billion Vision Fund for which the world s biggest investors including Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Saudi Arabia s sovereign wealth fund plan to make limited or no contributions, The Wall Street Journal reported. SoftBank, however, had said it to “misleading and even inaccurate.”

Most investors from its existing $100 billion Vision Fund want to back the second fund as well and discussions with them will start soon, Reuters quoted Son. Fund’s head Rajeev Misra said that the number of portfolio companies in the current fund would grow to 100-150 in a year or two from around 80 at present.

The presentation also highlighted the growth of India portfolio companies including OYO as “leading hotel network in India” and “leader in payments in India” Paytm apart from ride-hailing company Ola as one of the world’s leading ride-sharing platform along with Uber, DiDi, and Grab.