The great Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico was a true original. His enigmatic cityscapes, so full of threat and foreboding, laid the groundwork for surrealism. This potent period of creativity that literally helped rewrite the history of art lasted for just about 10 years. For the last 60 years of his life, de Chirico abandoned his pioneering style and rejected innovation, preferring instead the imitation of the great masters of centuries past.
SoftBank founder Masa Son is also a true original, arguably the greatest financial performance artist of all time. Like all true artists, some of his work looks almost like a parody of earlier achievements, but even now, he remains capable of acts of truly breathtaking ingenuity and brash verve, masterpieces uncoupled from what any other private equity artist could do or even conceive.
Still, there have been signs of hesitancy and doubt, indications, perhaps, that the great creative ferment that has been the studio of Masa Son has slowed down, become a bit dull, less confident and free. And none more so than yesterday, when Son’s finest collaborator and pupil, the architect along with the master of the beautiful WeWork disaster, acknowledged that, at least for now, he and Son are out of ideas and ready to start churning out imitations of what literally everyone else is doing.
Speaking at the 2020 Milken Institute Global Conference on Monday, Misra said he’s preparing a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC…. The SPAC will be operated by SoftBank Vision Fund investment advisors and will include money from outside investors and Vision Fund 2, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Of course, it’s possible that Misra and Son are about to disrupt and refigure everything we think we know about blank-check companies—Misra has promised more details in the next two weeks—things that will expose the hacks and poseurs and once again blow our minds. But “jumping on the latest investment bandwagon” are stinging words from the art critics over at CNBC, and, we fear, the end of one of the great chapters of the financial imagination.