Profit was supercharged by the successful initial public offering of Coupang, the South Korean e-commerce leader which debuted in New York last month. That will account for the lion’s share of what’s expected to be between $25 billion and $30 billion in reported gains for the three months ended March 31.
Son is the richest Japanese person on Forbes’ 2021 list of billionaires, though he only ranked 29th in the world. But as Bloomberg notes, few fortunes are as volatile as Son’s. In March 2020, as markets sank under COVID-19, his wealth dipped to $8.4 billion. A year later, it’s $45.4 billion.
But it hasn’t all been good news. Son will be hoping a court ruling in February that affirmed SoftBank’s control of WeWork will draw a line under that fiasco, while Greensill Capital — led by a man Son once called his “money man” — collapsed last month in one of the most spectacular blowups of recent years.
Son also agreed to sell British chip designer Arm to Nvidia for $40 billion last year, but the path for completing that transaction is growing increasingly difficult, with Arm’s China business in turmoil and the U.K. regulator looking into whether to block the sale on national security grounds.
A string of hits, however, have made up for any losses and then some. And SoftBank is investing geographically widely, with recents reports that the group is pouring money into a Norwegian robotics and software firm, an Indian food delivery startup, and potentially a new venture combining the Spanish-language assets of two giants of Latin American TV.