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SoftBank sells off Nvidia and Flipkart stakes to bank $5.6 billion in exits for 2018

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(Image: SoftBank Group)

For the nine months to the end of the December, SoftBank has made a cumulative return of $5.6 billion for its 2018 fiscal year, made up of $3.3 billion from selling its stake in Nvidia, and $2.3 billion selling its shares in Flipkart.

SoftBank said its SoftBank Vision Fund completed the Flipkart exit in August, and sold off its Nvidia stake last month.

With Nvidia, SoftBank had a total investment cost of $2.9 billion made up of $0.7 billion in equity, $0.5 billion in preferred equity, and a $1.7 billion margin loan at August 2017. By the end of August, its equity had risen to $3.3 billion, with the same size of preferred equity and margin loan.

SoftBank pointed out that from Nvidia’s $281 peak share price on September 28 to the end of December 2018, when it sat at $134, its investment valuation had fallen by $4 billion. Through the use of derivatives via a collar transaction, it was able to recover $2.9 billion.

In May, Walmart took control of Flipkart for $16 billion, of which SoftBank had a 20 percent share.

SoftBank said that thanks to the 43.68 percent taxation rate on short-term capital gains in India, it had paid 65 million yen in tax on the Flipkart transaction.

Overall, the SoftBank Vision Fund investment vehicle had valuation gain of 693 billion yen for the nine months to the end of 2018, based on increases in valuations of Uber, WeWork, and Oyo.

Speaking during an earnings briefing on Wednesday, SoftBank Group CEO Masayoshi Son said the Vision Fund had made investments in over 70 companies, most of which were unicorns and focused in some way on artificial intelligence.

In its Arm chip-designing division, adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) was down from 24 billion yen last year to 10 billion yen for the nine months to December 31, this year, mostly due to taking a 176 billion yen hit from selling 51 percent of Arm China to create a joint venture.

Net sales for Arm were down four percent, and technology licence revenue dropped by 28 percent year on year. SoftBank said the drop was due to a delay of new contracts being signed in China during the first half of the year. Once signed, revenue returned to normal.

From its telco holdings, SoftBank Corp reported a 0.6 percent increase in adjusted EBITDA to 986 billion yen for the nine-month period, with sales growing by 4 percent, and US telco Sprint increased its EBITDA by 15 percent to 1 trillion yen for the three quarters to December 31 as sales grew 2.7 percent.

SoftBank said that the new revenue standards which dropped average revenue per user (ARPU) by 96 cents, and the increasing uptake of smartwatches and automotive data devices which have lower ARPU than handsets, has made overall postpaid phone ARPU $50, and postpaid ARPU sit at $43.64.

For the conglomerate in total, SoftBank Group recorded 7.2 trillion yen in net sales, up 5 percent, and a 62 percent boost in operating income to 1.8 trillion yen for the nine months to the end of 2018. Net income for SoftBank Group was 1.57 trillion yen, an increase of 31 percent.

During that time, SoftBank Group reduced its ownership in SoftBank Corp from 99.99 percent to 66.49 percent.

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Incredible and iconic 1970 Porsche 917 K race car heads to auction

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RM Sotheby’s is auctioning some incredibly expensive, rare, and iconic vehicles in Monterey, California, starting on August 14. One of the highlights of the show is an extremely rare and perfect 1970 Porsche 917 K racer. The car was delivered new in 1970 to Porsche Works team JW Automotive Engineering.

The car was driven by David Hobbs and Mike Hailwood in the 1970 Le Mans 24 Hours. This car is also the same vehicle used as the winning car in the Steve McQueen classic Le Mans. The vehicle was rebuilt to 917 Spyder specification at the Porsche factory in 1971. It currently wears one of the most iconic racing liveries in history with the blue and orange of Gulf.

The car was raced in Interserie in 1971 through 1973 by Jürgen Neuhaus, Team Shell Heckersbruch, and Gelo Racing. Subsequently, it was owned and raced in historic events by the late Michael Amalfitano for over 20 years. The vehicle was restored to its original 917 K specification but is accompanied by the original Spyder body.

This racing car may be decades old, but it’s incredibly fast, reaching 220 mph. The vehicle is chassis number 917-031/026 with engine number 917-031. The sale comes with numerous spare parts, additional hardware, tools, and ancillary components. The vehicle has an extensive racing pedigree with multiple drivers and multiple racing series.

It also finished in first place in many of the events it entered. The car is rare enough, and with such an extensive racing pedigree coupled with the fact that it was used in the iconic Steve McQueen film, it’s expected to bring a huge amount of money. The action estimates the vehicle will sell for between $16 million and $18.5 million when the gavel drops.

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Mercedes S 680 Guard 4matic is a rolling safe room

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For some people in some locations, personal safety is a significant issue. Mercedes has been producing armored vehicles for celebrities and heads of state who might be the target of kidnappers or others that wish them harm. The automaker announced previously that it would rely solely on its S-Class for its factory armored vehicles.

The latest model is available only with a long wheelbase and the Maybach 612 PS V12 turbocharged engine. The new armored model also gets all-wheel drive. Mercedes says the S 680 Guard 4matic is a model focused on people and their safety. It also says no other series sedan fully meets the highest protection class for civil vehicles.

The car is available as a four or five-seater and has a maximum payload of 660 kilograms. The vehicle weighs in at 4.2-tonne making it very heavy. Occupants ride in a protected cell that is unnoticeable from the outside. One of the only clues that this vehicle is fully armored is the centimeter-thick windows and special tires from Michelin featuring Pax emergency running system. The windows are fitted with a polycarbonate splinter protection system on the inside

The material and thickness of the side panels meet VR10 classification. The window regulators have a hydraulic emergency function, and their optional equipment including a fire extinguisher system and emergency fresh air system to protect occupants from smoke or irritant gases. Vehicles can also be fitted with flashers, signal systems, or radio.

These vehicles are built on order and take 51 days to complete. Exactly how much the vehicles will cost remains to be seen, but it’s expected to be around €500,000. Typically, royalty or government officials use vehicles of this type, but it seems anyone can purchase the vehicle if they desire.

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Rivian is in talks for a UK factory

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Of all the start-up electric vehicle manufacturers, one of the most anticipated is Rivian. The company has shown off very interesting and appealing SUV and truck models so far that are completely electric. Rivian is backed by Amazon and Ford, among others. A new report is circulating claiming that the electric vehicle maker is in talks with ministers in the UK to build a factory there.

If the talks work out, it would be the first Rivian factory outside of the US. The report also indicates that the site of the factory in the UK would be near Bristol. According to the report, Rivian and ministers in the UK government have been in secret negotiations for weeks for the construction of the new plant.

Reports indicate that the talks aren’t in an advanced state at this time. Building the factory in the UK isn’t guaranteed at this time. Other European nations are also in consideration, including Germany and the Netherlands. Whichever country is ultimately chosen, likely depending on tax breaks, among other items. The investment in the new plant would be worth more than £1 billion.

Rivian has been busy raising money, recently raising another $2.5 billion from investors earlier in the month. The total the company has raised since 2019 is $10.5 billion. Rivian currently plans to begin deliveries of its R1T electric truck this fall. The electric truck is expected to begin selling for $67,500.

It’s worth noting that Rivian has experienced unexpected delays in the past, and it wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility for the vehicles to be delayed again. The current talks with ministers in the UK are focused on a manufacturing facility for the vehicles themselves rather than batteries. However, sources claiming to be familiar with negotiations have said they are fluid and could shift towards a battery manufacturing facility.

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