Masa Son’s Unicorns Were Actually Lemmings - Dealbreaker

As will surprise no one who’s been paying attention to it, SoftBank had a bad year.

SoftBank posted an operating loss of 1.36 trillion yen, or $12.7 billion, in the fiscal year that ended March 31, its first annual loss in 15 years. It reported a profit of $19.6 billion the previous year. Its net income loss was $894 million.

Like, a really, really, really bad year.

Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp reported a stunning $18 billion loss at its giant Vision Fund… including losses of almost $10 billion at office-sharing firm WeWork and ride- hailing app Uber Technologies Inc alone…. The crisis has pushed the Vision Fund’s portfolio underwater, with its $75 billion investment in 88 startups worth $69.6 billion at the end of March.

Bad enough that the guy who made SoftBank’s name wants nothing to do with the place anymore.

Mr. Son gave his financial presentation just hours after SoftBank announced that Mr. Ma, a co-founder of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, had resigned from its board…. Mr. Son was an early investor in Alibaba. His $20 million initial stake grew to be valued at more than $100 billion, making it one of the best venture capital investments in history and among SoftBank’s most valuable holdings.

Bad enough to make Masa Son very sad.

“The coronavirus is an unprecedented crisis,” a notably downbeat Son told an earnings presentation, comparing it to the Great Depression.

Appearing far more subdued than usual, Son said some of his tech unicorns had fallen “into the valley of the coronavirus”.

But not bad enough to hurt his PowerPoint game, or keep this master of improvisational finance performance art from finding new ways to express himself.

“I believe some of them will fly over the valley,” he added, standing beside a slide depicting cartoon unicorns dropping into a hole as a lone winged unicorn escaped to the other side.

SoftBank Group Corp. is in talks to sell a significant portion of its T-Mobile US Inc. stake to controlling shareholder Deutsche Telekom AG as the Japanese technology conglomerate scrambles to raise funds…. The size of any purchase is still being discussed but it would likely be significant: T-Mobile’s market value stands at about $120 billion…. SoftBank is expected to retain rights to 48.8 million shares it surrendered to complete the merger that will be reissued if T-Mobile’s stock price reaches certain milestones within two years, one of the people familiar with the matter said.

SoftBank Posts Its Worst Results Ever, Hit by Poor Tech Investments [WSJ]
SoftBank’s Vision Fund tumbles to $18 billion loss in ‘valley of coronavirus’ [Reuters]
SoftBank in Crisis Amid Record Losses [NYT]
SoftBank in Talks to Sell T-Mobile Shares to Deutsche Telekom [WSJ]

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