Like many an artist in their own lifetimes, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son feels underappreciated. Maligned, even. Ridiculed. Written off. Increasingly ignored. Decreasingly relevant. Certainly, recent years have been hard on Son and undermining of his grand vision, which never included spending $15 billion on a company worth a third that and probably less. An artist like Son must take risks, but those paying for the risks are less keen, and as such value a company which owns a $120 billion stake in the world’s largest e-commerce company at roughly a third of that, for symmetry SoftBank’s own predicament with WeWork.
This is market capitalization trolling at its finest, and one that requires a suitably magnificent gesture from Son—one showing that he’s lost neither a step nor his flair for financial showmanship. So you peon investors, you jobbers and haters and nobodies, you men of Ressentiment: You think SoftBank is only worth $41 billion? Well, what if Masa Son does this?
SoftBank aims to sell assets to raise as much as 4.5 trillion yen ($41 billion) over the coming year to buy back stock and slash debt -- an amount equivalent to almost its entire market value last week.
Well, what, then, peanut gallery?
The scale of the endeavor surprised investors, sending the Japanese firm’s stock up 19%. Yet that’s a fraction of the capitalization the investment house has lost since its 2020 peak…. After Monday’s rally, it’s still down more than 40% from this year’s peak in February…./“SoftBank is now trying to sell its assets as the values for those are cheap,” said Mitsushige Akino, an executive officer at Ichiyoshi Asset Management Co. in Japan. “Investment companies are supposed to purchase assets when they are cheap and sell them when they are expensive. It looks like SoftBank is doing the opposite, when they have to invest more money.”
You people don’t deserve to watch genius at work. Inspiration doesn’t come cheap.