The stock surge gives a boost to Son’s strategy in recent years of transforming SoftBank’s profile from a telecommunications operator into the world’s most powerful tech investor.
Presenting SoftBank’s earnings on Wednesday, Son complained that his company’s closing share price that day was “too cheap.” He took a different approach from previous presentations, laying out why he believes the collection of tech and telecommunications assets he has assembled should command a higher valuation.
“The change in presentation of the results and focus on the sum-of-the-parts has … probably focused investors,” said Dan Baker, an analyst at research firm Morningstar.
Betting on an AI revolution
But Son said Wednesday that while he admires Buffett’s style of investing, his own approach is very different to that of the Oracle of Omaha.
There are three types of investors, according to Son: those who are focused on cash flow like Buffett; investors that are actually computers driven by algorithms; and “vision” investors. Son puts himself squarely in the third category.
“For SoftBank Group, vision matters most,” he said. “It’s a completely new animal, I would say.”
Son believes artificial intelligence will bring about a fundamental shift in society, completely changing how businesses operate and people live. He said his past investments were based on the internet revolution, and now the focus is on companies that will play key roles in the AI revolution.
SoftBank is flush with cash after selling a chunk of its Japanese telecommunications business in a $23.5 billion listing in December. Besides buying shares, the company said it would use some of the IPO proceeds to reduce debt and invest in more companies.
Son’s roller-coaster career
But the Japanese tycoon has also lost big at times. As the dotcom bubble burst around the turn of the millennium, he reportedly lost $70 billion in one day. He said that 99% of his net worth was wiped out in 2000.