Softbank’s high-speed Internet access service is costing Softbank President Masayoshi Son dearly – but has managed to sign up 3 million customers. Son claims that if the company did not advertise and market this heavily, it would have broken even. Well whatever, this is a smart bet and Son knows it. He has been selling his holdings in other companies quite aggressively to finance this broadband business.
To finance its attack, Softbank is draining a substantial war chest of investment gains it accrued from early bets on companies such as Yahoo. Softbank owns 4% of Yahoo, down from a peak of about 37% in 1996. Softbank owns 41.94% of Yahoo Japan. In the April-June quarter, Softbank netted 9 billion from sales of stock in U.S. Internet-equipment maker UTStarcom Inc. [Wall Street Journal]