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If you think that Major League Baseball and its Players Association are far apart in negotiations, well, check out the orders of magnitude between SoftBank chief Masa Son and his head janitor, Marcelo Claure.

Marcelo Claure, the firm’s chief operating officer and a close confidant of the SoftBank founder and chief executive Masayoshi Son, is seeking roughly $2 billion in compensation over the next several years, according to four people with knowledge of the discussions who were not authorized to speak publicly on pay issues. Mr. Son and other senior SoftBank executives in Japan are seeking to pay Mr. Claure a much smaller sum — tens of millions of dollars at most.

I mean, to be sure, $2 billion seems like a lot, but we’ve never been asked to personally negotiate with someone as annoying as Adam Neumann, who was himself paid nearly $2 billion just to go away, nor to fix a catastrophic mess on the order of WeWork or Sprint. In any event, those clean-up jobs must have been quite unpleasant, because Claure seems deadly serious about getting paid, whatever the cost.

Mr. Claure has insisted in private conversations with individuals inside and outside SoftBank that he was owed the $2 billion for various cleanup jobs, including straightening out SoftBank’s investment in WeWork, the office-space leasing giant that went public in October. The amount also reflects Mr. Claure’s estimate of the future value he could bring to SoftBank, one of the individuals said…. Mr. Claure and SoftBank have been locked in the pay dispute for weeks, working with their own teams of lawyers. The negotiations, which could go on for weeks more, have frayed the close ties between Mr. Son, 64, and Mr. Claure, 50 — so much so that Mr. Claure could leave SoftBank in the coming months whether or not he receives the compensation he is seeking, the four people said.

And, speaking of costs, that outcome is not the kind of thing that seems likely to revive SoftBank’s share price.

Its shares have fallen more than 35 percent this year after a regulatory crackdown in China that has weighed on Chinese stocks.

This thing is going to take some real financial artistry to solve, which is good, because frankly Son hasn’t been creatively challenged terribly much recently.

A Top SoftBank Executive Wants $2 Billion in Pay. His Boss Disagrees. [NYT]


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