SoftBank’s CEO Masayoshi Son has claimed the investor is ready to capitalise on the AI boom and move into “offense mode”, following significant losses last month.
The Japanese investment company has been in what it calls “defence mode” since last year.
After suffering billions in losses in its Vision Fund, the world’s biggest tech capital pool, Son admitted he had ignored internal advice to slow down on investments and handed over logistical reins to chief financial officer Yoshimitsu Goto.
Now, despite five quaters of consecutive losses, Son has claimed the company will soon be ready to reenter into “offensive mode” and is betting on the crowded market of AI to restore its credibility.
During a shareholders’ annual meeting on Wednesday 22 June, Son said: “Now, the time has come to shift to offense mode.
Adding: “Three years ago, we didn’t have a lot of cash on hand. But because we have been in defense mode, we have built our cash on hand to five trillion yen ($35.3 billion).”
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Son, who some have described as “the “Bill Gates of Japan”, said he is most interested in the “AI revolution”.
“We would like to be the leading position for the AI revolution,” Son said to shareholders.
After suffering consistent major losses in Vision Fund investments, Softbank’s CEO has been facing questioning over his leadership.
The company is holding out hope in its public offering of Arm, which it purchased in 2016 for $32bn. The UK-based computer chip designer company provides essential technology to iPhones and other popular smart devices.
Reports state that Softbank could be seeking a valuation as high as $70bn for the chip maker.
According to The Telegraph, if the chip company is not listed by September it could be left with up to $8.5bn of Softbank-acquired debt – as the Japanese investor has been borrowing against its shares.
The news comes as investment in AI fell dramatically last year.
According to research firm GlobalData, the value of AI deals plummeted to $72.9bn last year, a substantial drop from $127.2bn in 2021.
Investment had been steadily growing since 2019 which saw $58.4bn invested into the market. This increased in 2020, where it totalled $83.4bn.