Venture Capital: Jack Ma Calls it Quits at SoftBank after 13 years

May 18, 2020 | News, Venture Capital

Alibaba Group Holding founder Jack Ma is leaving SoftBank Group’s Board.

That’s the announcement from SoftBank Group (TYO: 9984). After 13 years, Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group Holding (NYSE: BABA) will be relinquishing his position on the SoftBank board at his own request. Ma retired from Alibaba last year. (Nikkei Asian Review)

Founder and chairman Masayoshi Son (pictured above) said Monday: “Jack Ma is for me, my friend and comrade.”

SoftBank: worst-ever performance

On Monday, the company will hold its annual earnings conference. Son will face disappointed investors on the massive $16.7 billion loss at the technology titan. A key overhang on the meeting will be the impact of COVID-19 on investments made by its $100 billion Vision Fund. The pandemic has clouded the prospects for profitable exits on these investments.

“This is a big crisis for many of us,” Son said, according to CNN. He compared the coronavirus epidemic to a deep valley into which some of the Vision Fund’s unicorns were plunging.

US hedge fund and activist investor Elliott Management, led by billionaire Paul Singer, has accumulated a stake in the company and demanded share buybacks funded by asset sales, and improved corporate governance.

SoftBank still holds about 25% of Ali Baba Group Holding, a highly successful investment made in 2000. Two decades later, Ali Baba has grown to a market capitalization of $545 billion. Masayoshi Son as a stake of approximately 27% in the company.

New directors

SoftBank announced three new directorships. These are CFO Yoshimitsu Goto, Cadence CEO and Walden International Founder Lip-Bu Tan, and Waseda Business School professor Yuko Kawamoto, the last two being independent directors.


SoftBank announced Monday that it is buying back $4.7 billion worth of stock over the coming year, its second buyback since March.

Related Story:      Alternative Investments: Elliott Supports SoftBank’s Buyback Plan                                             

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