SoftBank: An overstretched telco or a unique innovator?

£1,000.00 excl VAT

As a conglomerate with growing investments across the Internet of Things and AI value chains, SoftBank is a unique and intriguing player in the telecoms industry. What exactly is SoftBank’s strategy, and does it give its telecoms businesses a competitive advantage?


Format: PDF filePages: 37 pagesCharts: 18Author: Amy Cameron, Charles CullPublication Date: January 2020

Table of Contents

  • Executive summary
  • SoftBank’s history: How it got to where it is
    • The early days: SoftBank the software distributor
    • SoftBank’s move into telecoms
  • Masayoshi Son’s 300-year plan: Sprint, Arm and the Vision Fund
    • Sprint: SoftBank’s move into US telecoms
    • Arm: Hardware and IoT are the foundations of AI
    • The Vision Fund
  • Can SoftBank pull off its grand plans?
    • Internal risks: Cracks beneath the surface
    • External risks: Rakuten goes after SoftBank’s core
  • Conclusions

Table of Figures

  • Figure 1: SoftBank’s evolution
  • Figure 2: SoftBank both drove and suffered from the dotcom bubble
  • Figure 3: SoftBank’s early Internet successes
  • Figure 4: Increases in SoftBank’s revenues, operating cash flow and interest-bearing-debt following major telco acquisitions
  • Figure 5: SoftBank has drastically improved profitability in telecoms
  • Figure 6: Yahoo Japan and Rakuten revenues FY2018
  • Figure 7: SoftBank revenues and EBITDA margin by segment, 2012
  • Figure 8: Sprint’s revenue and EBITDA since the SoftBank acquisition
  • Figure 9: Arm’s R&D expenditure has grown relative to revenue since the SoftBank acquisition
  • Figure 10: Vision Fund contributions as of June 2017, US$ billion ($93bn in total)
  • Figure 11: Vision Fund portfolio, March 2019
  • Figure 12: Vision Fund investments and estimated current value by vertical
  • Figure 13: Softbank IPOs and exits
  • Figure 14: SoftBank Group net sales and income by segment (Yen, billions)
  • Figure 15: Comparison of SoftBank Group Corp debt to operating cash flow
  • Figure 16: WeWork versus IWG financials
  • Figure 17: Japan telecoms operators’ NFV deployments by type
  • Figure 18: Yahoo Japan vs Rakuten users, FY 2018

Technologies and industry terms referenced include: AI, ARM, commerce, Innovation, Internet of Things, platforms, Rakuten, Sprint, WeWork