SoftBank's Son stays bullish despite record $6.4bn loss
Nikkei -- Nov 07
SoftBank Group CEO Masayoshi Son said Wednesday he made a "poor" decision investing in U.S. office sharing company WeWork at a $47 billion valuation, which led to the worst financial performance in the company's history.

Son nevertheless defended the $100 billion Vision Fund’s track record and said SoftBank’s shareholder value was at a record high, in a bullish show of confidence in his group’s overall strategy.

"WeWork had a very big impact on the performance of Vision Fund and SoftBank," Son, 62, said in an earnings presentation in Tokyo as he strutted about on a stage backlit by charts and earnings projections. "I have a lot of reflection that my investment judgment was poor in many ways," he said.

SoftBank reported on Wednesday a larger than expected loss of 700 billion yen ($6.4 billion) for the July-September quarter due to investment write-downs at its Vision Fund portfolio of companies, which includes WeWork and Uber Technologies.

The dramatic swing from a 1.12 trillion yen profit the previous quarter -- the highest quarterly profit ever for a Japanese company -- is a major blow for Son and underlines the volatility of the Japanese conglomerate’s tech-focused investment strategy.

Son described the results as “disastrous” and said it was the “biggest quarterly loss since since the start of our business.”

At the same time, Son said two numbers indicated that both SoftBank and the Vision Fund are doing extremely well: what he claimed to be a 1.4 trillion yen rise in shareholder value over the three-month period, and a 1.2 trillion yen overall profit for the Vision Fund, since it began investing in 2017. In the second quarter, it suffered a 970 billion yen loss.

News source: Nikkei
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