Sep 7, 2020

SoftBank bets on tech stock options; share price falls

Vision Fund
stock market
William Smith
2 min
Japanese conglomerate SoftBank has been putting billions into shares and equity derivatives tied to technology firms in a bet on their continued success
Japanese conglomerate SoftBank has been putting billions into shares and equity derivatives tied to technology firms in a bet on their continued success...

Japanese conglomerate SoftBank has been putting billions into shares and equity derivatives tied to technology firms in a bet on their continued success.

According to the Financial Times, SoftBank made $4bn in trading gains from $4bn of options.

With an exposure of $50bn generated from the options, Reuters reported that SoftBank shares closed down 7% as investors worried about the decline in the US stock market. Previous to that, SoftBank shares had gone up by 33% this year.

A selloff in US stocks has seen the S&P 500 fall by 4.3% over the last two sessions, reversing a trend of huge growth that has seen Apple become the first $2trn US company, and companies such as Tesla continue to defy expectations.

SoftBank is perhaps best known for its Vision Fund, an investment vehicle that saw it take stakes in then emerging technology companies such as ByteDance (owner of video-sharing app TikTok) and Uber. SoftBank is the largest technology investor in Japan and also arguably the world, with its more recent Vision Fund 2 said to have a specific focus on companies advancing the cause of artificial intelligence.

The Japanese group has experienced difficulty in recent times, as some of its investments have turned sour. Most prominent among these was WeWork’s failed IPO, which saw CEO Adam Neumann ousted, a mass devaluation of the company, and SoftBank acquiring an 80% stake in the company. CEO Masoyashi Son referred to the investment as “foolish”, and has since mandated a new approach for the company in the future.

Elsewhere, SoftBank is participating in the rescue deal of satellite operator OneWeb, taking an $87mn stake in the company alongside a consortium of the UK government and India’s Bharti Global. SoftBank was the company’s largest shareholder before it allowed it to file for bankruptcy in March. 

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Jun 18, 2021

Microsoft Power BI: Enabling data culture through innovation

3 min
A peek into Microsoft Power BI’s roadmap revealing exciting capabilities like real-time analytics and organisational goals tracking

Businesses using Microsoft’s cloud services may be familiar with Power BI –  a business analytics service that aims to provide interactive visualizations and business intelligence capabilities with a simple experience helping end users create their own reports and dashboards. Power BI is part of the Power Platform which is a set of low-code tools consisting of business intelligence, app development, bot development and process automation applications. In a world where everything is constantly changing, the Power Platform enables subject matter experts to keep up with business needs.

Today, data comes not just from transactional systems of record, but from the real world – whether it is the devices people use, to everyday human interaction. Power BI’s mission is to make access to data paramount to every business operation through its solutions and empowers individuals, teams and organizations to drive a data culture. This sentiment is further established by Arun Ulagarathchagan, Corporate Vice President of the Power BI team, adding “Our vision here in the Power BI team is to help you drive a data culture where everyone can make every decision with data.” So what can organisations expect to see next in the pipeline? Microsoft is bringing performance management to Power BI for the first time. Organisations strive to achieve certain goals, and today, goals are largely data-driven. Power BI helps make those goals more accessible and personalized in existing workflows. This means that since many teams’ data, analytics and business logic is already reported in Power BI, they can now instantly connect it to their personal/department goals. It is also worth noting that Goals is natively integrated into the Microsoft Teams experience. The goals algorithm is also AI powered, so organisations can better understand how they’re doing and where are the opportunities for improvement. Finally, Microsoft is working towards integrating it with Power Automate, so organisations can define business processes that get automatically triggered as the goals change status. Goals will soon be available as a mobile experience too, so teams can stay up to date and take action in real-time. On that note, another major announcement from Microsoft features real-time analytics. Today, data is captured from everywhere and synthesizing it in real-time allows for maximum impact. Power BI has been a pioneer in real time analytics from the start with a simple vision – that the distinctions between batch, real time, and streaming data today will disappear over time. Power BI will launch Streaming Data Flows soon, allowing every business a simple low-code way to work with real-time data.

Amir Netz, CTO Power BI concludes “Our vision is to empower everyone in the world with data, and not just the people sitting in offices, but people who are working in the real world, people who are moving things, creating things, producing things with their hands. And for this, we have to think again about how we deliver data to help them make better decision


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