This Wednesday, Softbank’s CEO Masayoshi Son spoke on the company’s whopping $8.9 billion loss on the Vision Fund, the highest loss by the company its operation history, admitting poor investment choices and turning ‘blind eye’ to the governance problems faced by the startup WeWork, and office sharing platform.
The gloomy figures identify the administrative lacks and absence of a profit model in Son’s startup investments. The figures have also dwindled the company’s hopes to raise another massive funding.
WeWorks market crash this year invited tons of questions on Son’s judgement regarding the backing of unconventional startups. The crash forced Softbank to further spend $10 billion to save the startup after its failed IPO attempt.
Son admitted, “My investment judgment was poor in many ways and I am reflecting deeply on that.”
He admitted to have turned a blind eye towards the problems with Adam Neumann’s WeWork, especially in areas of corporate governance. However, Son also ensured that Softbank is still a strong standing business and will see improvement in its profits eventually.
It was said that Softbank’s $100 billion Vision Fund paid a loss of 970 billion yen ($8.9 billion) in the third quarter with an additional loss of 537.9 billion yen for the six months of the year, as its investment bets on WeWork and Uber collapsed. While WeWork’s loss is not measurable through publicly available data, Uber’s is. From its listing price of $45 per share at IPO, Uber’s stock is currently trading at levels which are close to 50% of the listing price. Top it up with the company’s recently reported $1Bn loss and the end of a locking period which will allow internal shareholders to sell as many as 90% of their stock.
To summerise, Softbank reported a loss of 704 billion yen ($6.5 billion) in the third quarter, against the 706 billion yen profit which it earned in the same quarter last year. Softbank further stated that the combined loss on the shares company directly holds in WeWork, and through Vision Fund amounts to $8.2 billion.
Son has mentioned that they will aim to return their investment on WeWork in the coming four or five years by holding the new leases and shutting down the loss making non core businesses.
“The logic is simple. Time will resolve . . . and we will see a sharp V-shaped recovery,”
Softbank, however, did not release any forecast figure for the current business year, stating that there are too many unforeseen factors.