But if you're looking for someone to subsidize basic research with little or no investment return potential, don't look to a competitive company to do it...
...or to Bell Labs. It's a common misconception that Bell Labs existed for nothing more than the pursuit of knowledge, but nothing in Bell Labs was meant for mental masturbation, or "little or no investment return potential." Discoveries were made as a consequence of trying to solve technological problems, but they weren't just standing around "doing science" for its own sake.
CMB was discovered while looking for noise sources in microwave communications. Transistors weren't patented because the lawyers thought it wasn't new. (Arguably a huge mistake.) UNIX made money by being used internally, and was marketed within a few years, both directly through AT&T as System V, as well as licensed to third parties. Every famous accomplishment was the direct result of looking for technologies to either add new commercial offerings, improve existing offerings, or reduce operating costs.
If you're looking for research for its own sake with little or no direct goals for commercialization, you'll only find it at a very small subset of colleges, universities, and government/NGO enterprises like CERN. Even then, it often becomes necessary to license inventions to stay afloat.