Softbank’s new unit, “SB Northstar”, set up to play the market in tech stocks reveals that it has racked up trading losses of $3.7bn so far

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Until now, SoftBank has shrouded the unit in secrecy, declining to say who was in charge of the unit or what its decision-making process was, after the FT revealed that it was the so-called “Nasdaq whale” buying billions of dollars of derivatives on US tech stocks over the summer.

SoftBank said in August that it was planning to invest about $10bn in publicly traded tech stocks as a way to diversify a portfolio that is heavily reliant on shares in Chinese ecommerce group Alibaba.

But by the end of September, Northstar had purchased nearly $17bn of shares in US tech companies, including $6.3bn in Amazon, $2.2bn in Facebook, $1.8bn in Zoom and $1.4bn in Alphabet.

It invested another $3.4bn in equity derivatives. The trades included “long call options” — bets on rising stock prices that provide the right to buy stocks at a preset price on future dates — that were worth $4.7bn by the end of September.


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