Masayoshi Son “Humbled” After $8.9 Billion Loss for Vision Fund

Softbank reported its first quarterly loss in 14 years on Wednesday.

Masayoshi Son is reportedly “humbled” after SoftBank reported its first quarterly loss in over a decade. The CEO took hits from all directions after the fund reported an $8.9 billion hit to its Vision Fund. Simply put: WeWork is to blame for the loss.

The Vision Fund has been a major source of pride over the last 14 years. Son would provide backing to several hot startups that needed cash to grow aggressively. Up until about two months ago, little doubt existed that Son would be able to attract billions for a second, larger Vision Fund.

Now, following the WeWork fiasco, doubts are spreading.

Masayoshi Son on WeWork’s Troubles

Last month, SoftBank had to bail out WeWork after its planned IPO fizzled. Half of Wall Street shook their heads at the absurdity of WeWork’s numbers. It had signaled that it might never be profitable. It had signed massive 15-year leases around the globe to expand. However, its average customer only leased short-term for about 15 months. This created a swell of unfunded liabilities. And that was just the beginning.

The CEO said in a news conference that his “investment judgment was poor in many ways, and I am reflecting deeply on that.”

Son said he didn’t pay close enough attention to WeWork’s Adam Neumann, who recently stepped down from the firm with a massive payday. He also raised questions about the firm’s corporate governance.

That said, Softbank’s Vision Fund contributed an $8.9 billion loss during the third quarter. It wasn’t just WeWork. The firm experienced sharp unrealized losses during the first six months of the year on WeWork as well.

Jamie Dimon Talks WeWork

Masayoshi Son said that he expects WeWork will thrive again. He predicted a “hockey stick” recovery when it comes to profits.

That sentiment was also shared by JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon on Tuesday. Dimon expressed that he expects that the firm will survive. He told CNBC that he learned a few lessons from WeWork’s financial emergency. It has been reported that Dimon personally advised WeWork’s founder through the IPO process.

Dimon said that companies require “proper corporate governance” and an independent board of directors before they file an S-1.

Related: Activist Bill Ackman: WeWork is Worth “Zero”

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November 20, 2019

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