SoftBank Group founder Masayoshi Son is keen to list UK chip design firm Arm on the Nasdaq rather than London, as the Japanese billionaire said the tech-focused conglomerate would continue to invest widely despite recent missteps.
Son, addressing the group’s annual general meeting, said he had not yet made a decision on Arm.
He said that while he favoured the US personally, the British government has reportedly considered invoking national security legislation to persuade SoftBank to list Arm in London.
“Most of Arm’s clients are based in Silicon Valley and … stock markets in the US would love to have Arm,” Son told shareholders.
Son was undaunted by the massive hit that SoftBank investments have taken in recent months, due to the tech crackdown in China, Russia’s war on Ukraine and rising interest rates.
15-Year Vision for Conglomerate
“I have been looking at many companies,” Son told investors, saying he had a 15-year vision for SoftBank.
“I don’t think many companies have business plans as long as 15 years,” he said. “Of course, once you decide [on a] business plan you should review every year. Look at Covid, the Chinese market, Ukraine, [long-term value] changes every day.”
Shares in the conglomerate have fallen 5% in the year to date, and 30% in the past 12 months.
SoftBank chairman Ken Miyauchi urged shareholders to look at a five to 10 year timeline. “We don’t sell our shares,” he said.
He said the group continued to focus on non-telecommunication business lines. He said of SoftBank’s 27,000 employees, fewer than 10,000 are involved in telecom.
Son said he was mindful that new technology was emerging rapidly, as was competition, but he said SoftBank would stick to its broader view.
“My vision stays the same. My strategy rarely changes but execution needs to be reviewed as things change,” he said. “We are full of dreams and full of confidence. Trust us.”
- George Russell, with Reuters