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Share sales shore up Softbank numbers

But ZD drags them down - sack 'em, says The Register

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Comdex-to-cyberspace combine Softbank has shown a 39 per cent rise in consolidated net profit but has been hit hard by difficulties at subsidiaries Kingston and Ziff Davis. Kingston was in trouble shortly after Softbank bought it, well before the Asian crisis, and Softbank also cites losses stemming from its investment in Internet companies, including Yahoo!, as dragging down profit. So although the net was Y3.29 billion (around $20 million) on sales of Y246.19 billion, Softbank actually showed a group pre-tax loss of Y2.36 billion. Hiving-off stakes in some of the subsidiaries is certainly having a short term effect in improving Softbank's numbers, but at the same cent increase in net profit for its first half, but this seems entirely due to share sales in group companies that have gone public. Otherwise Ziff-Davis, Kingston and the Web are proving heavy burdens for the Japanese giant to bear. ZD has been tightening its belt recently - in a recent memo to employees Eric 'Scrooge McDuck' Hippeau wrote that "Due to recent restructuring across the company and as part of our continuing cost-containment initiatives, we've decided to cancel the three formal holiday parties previously scheduled for December in New York City, Boston and San time the company is still investing heavily in new ventures (e.g. the joint venture with E+Trade), and it will need some of the ailing subs to turn around if its figures are going to start presenting a really positive picture. ® Click for more stories

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