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(Reuters) — Japan’s SoftBank Group on Monday reported a 49 percent rise in first-quarter operating profit, boosted by the sale of its stake in Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart — the first public divestment by its Vision Fund.
The sale of the stakes are early signs that SoftBank is able to monetize its investments — a key concern for investors that have seen billions of dollars pumped into tech companies around the world but little profit-taking.
SoftBank’s Saudi-Arabian backed Vision Fund, the world’s largest private equity fund, has invested $27.1 billion in 29 companies at the end of June.
Those investments are now worth $32.5 billion, SoftBank said.
The fund has upended the world of dealmaking with splashy investments in companies such as ride-sharing platform Uber Technologies, co-working firm WeWork, and chipmaker Nvidia.
SoftBank is preparing to list its domestic telecoms unit to raise more cash to feed its insatiable investing activities in what could be Japan’s largest-ever initial public offering.
Profit for the three months through June was 715 billion yen ($6.42 billion) from 479 billion yen a year earlier, SoftBank said.
SoftBank did not release a forecast for the current business year, saying there were too many uncertain factors.
(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Christopher Cushing)
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