Softbank has unveiled a ¥ 600bn (£4.2bn) share buyback scheme today, as its wide-ranging portfolio of tech investments provided a boost to quarterly profits.
The Japanese technology and telecoms giant said it would buy 112m shares over the next 11 months, which equates to about 10.3 per cent of its total outstanding shares.
Chief executive Masayoshi Son said the move would be funded with a third of the proceeds from the public listing of its local telecoms unit in December, driven by a desire to aid the parent group's flailing share price.
The group's operating profit in the three months to 31 December jumped to ¥ 438.3bn, up from ¥ 274bn in the same period in 2017.
Income from Softbank's $100bn (£77.1bn) Vision Fund, which is largely backed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and has plugged funding into tech favourites such as Uber and Wework, more than tripled from a year ago. By the end of the quarter, the Vision Fund had invested $45.5bn in 49 firms, with those investments valued at $55.3bn.
However some of its portfolio have struggled to perform under weak trading conditions in China and a global market slowdown. Softbank said this morning that it would sell off its entire stake in chipmaker Nvidia, the share price of which has fallen more than 50 per cent after cutting revenue estimates last week.
A successful public listing by ride-hailing firm Uber later this year will be a boon to Softbank's pockets, having become its largest shareholder last month. The move valued Uber at between $48bn and $68bn.
Softbank's share price is still 26 per cent below its September 2018 peak, after which the firm fell into a downward spiral on concerns about its financial ties to the Saudi kingdom.
The murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, attributed by US intelligence authorities to the Saudi royal family, caused significant negative press on Softbank's involvement with the nation. Son said last year that plans for a second Vision Fund were on hold until the matter was resolved.