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Epitaphs for Masa Son’s audacity have been written time and again. We ourselves have been guilty of it. After years of disaster after billion-dollar disaster, it really did seem as though the SoftBank chief had essentially given up, with his move into that last refuge of financial scoundrels, the special purpose acquisition company.

Rarely if ever have we been happier to report that we were wrong. You guys, Masa Son is back.

The conglomerate logged a profit of more than $6 billion in the July-September quarter, driven by rising share prices and valuations for some of its portfolio companies…. “We can go on the attack at the same time as we keep strengthening our defenses,” Mr. Son said at a news conference in Tokyo, the first in six months where he spoke to reporters in person.

And, potentially even more exciting, he’s embarking on the next phase of his financial artistry without (or at least without as much of) some of his long-time collaborators, including the one pushing him to his most depressingly derivative work.

SoftBank, the Japanese technology holding company, announced Monday that Vision Fund chief Rajeev Misra and Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure are among four directors resigning immediately from the company’s board.

Misra and Claure will continue in their executive positions…. “The changes to our Board build upon the enhancements we made in June, including ensuring we have a greater proportion of External Board Directors, and further highlight SoftBank’s commitment to corporate governance,” Son said in a statement.

Rejuvenated and increasingly independent board aside, one person certainly seems to recognize that these are probably not great developments in his effort to get Son to listen to reason, more specifically his. So Paul Singer is taking his unwanted advice elsewhere.

Activist investor Elliott Management Corp. has taken a stake in F5 Networks Inc. and spoken to the software company’s management in recent weeks about ways to boost its lagging stock…. Among other things, Elliott managers question the company’s recent acquisitions of Shape Security Inc. and Nginx Software Inc., suggesting it may have overpaid without a clear integration strategy….

SoftBank Comeback Stays on Track With $6 Billion Profit [WSJ]
SoftBank removes board members including Rajeev Misra and Marcelo Claure to improve perception of independence [CNBC]
Elliott Management Takes Stake in Software Company F5 Networks [WSJ]


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Masa Son Officially Out Of Ideas, And So Will Launch A SPAC

The greatest financial performance artist in history has settled for the easy and derivative.

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Well, That Was Fast

Masa Son wastes no time getting back to wheeling and dealing (and maybe self-dealing).

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Federal Court Revives Long-Form Financial Performance Art Of Masa Son

He gets to sell Sprint and its $40 billion in debt and lives to do something else bizarre.

Elon Musk Smoking

Badly-Timed Bonus Watch ‘19

SoftBank and Tesla, the two companies that make the least sense, give their bosses rich pats on the back for jobs apparently well-done by some inscrutable measure.

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Masa Son’s Unicorns Were Actually Lemmings

The last year really could have gone somewhat better for SoftBank.

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Masa Son Cancels Future Performances In China

There’s something about Xi Jinping’s belligerence towards everything SoftBank does that’s giving Son pause.

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Masa Son Sure Knows How To Pick’em

Another of the SoftBank chief’s unicorns looks a bit like roadkill.

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Wily Masa Son Made Damned Sure He Wouldn’t Have To Throw Away Another $3 Billion On WeWork

In his latest piece of financial performance art, Masa Son is getting sued by himself.