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SoftBank to double 'unicorn' bets but raises prospect of lower returns

CEO Son says 19% annual returns could deliver $1.8tn valuation by 2040

"SoftBank is a conductor," CEO Masayoshi Son said, likening its portfolio of investments to musicians and sponsors to the audience.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- SoftBank Group's investment arm plans to double the number of "unicorns" -- private companies valued at $1 billion or more -- in its portfolio within two years, in a show of confidence that it can maintain the blistering pace of investments from the world's biggest technology fund.

But CEO Masayoshi Son, speaking to investors at the group's annual meeting in Tokyo, also sketched out a scenario of lower returns for the Vision Fund than in the past, in a sign that he wants to manage investor expectations as he prepares to tap them for a second $100 billion fund.

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