0L7L.L - SoftBank Group Corp.

LSE - LSE Delayed price. Currency in USD
21.59
-16.22 (-42.90%)
At close: 4:32PM BST
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Previous close37.81
Open21.59
Bid0.00 x 0
Ask0.00 x 0
Day's range21.59 - 21.59
52-week range21.59 - 21.59
Volume935
Avg. volumeN/A
Market cap40.555B
Beta (5Y monthly)1.51
PE ratio (TTM)N/A
EPS (TTM)N/A
Earnings dateN/A
Forward dividend & yieldN/A (N/A)
Ex-dividend dateN/A
1y target estN/A
  • WhatsApp Gets a Raw Deal in Payments
    Bloomberg

    WhatsApp Gets a Raw Deal in Payments

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Money is many things, but it’s not fake news. So why block WhatsApp from spreading it around?India is the laboratory of choice for Western tech firms to test out their mobile payment capabilities so they can be rolled out from Bangladesh to Nigeria. Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg entered the fray two years ago by enabling the popular messaging service WhatsApp to send and receive money in India. But the beta version, limited to 1 million users, keeps getting blocked from becoming a full-fledged service.Meanwhile, rivals such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google Pay, Walmart Inc.-owned PhonePe and Softbank Group Corp.-backed Paytm are dominating India’s mobile transfers landscape. The troika led with 75 million, 60 million and 30 million customers transacting last month, respectively, according to TechCrunch.While Facebook Inc. deserves scrutiny globally for providing a platform for hate speech, voter manipulation and dissemination of untruth, cashless transfers is one area where WhatsApp can be a force for good. That’s especially true in emerging economies like India. As the Covid-19 lockdown has underscored, hundreds of millions of rural migrant workers in urban centers lack both liquid savings and a state-provided safety net. Increasingly ubiquitous smartphones can bring vulnerable citizens the financial security that bank branches can’t supply.   To restrain WhatsApp is a waste of the infrastructure India has built. Four years ago,  the country set up a shared interface linking more than 150 participating banks. An account holder in any of them can send or receive money to anybody else on the network. The two parties don’t need to know anything more than each other’s mobile number or a virtual ID. From Google to Walmart, any app can tap the common protocol, which already supports transactions worth more than 10% of gross domestic product. Google is so impressed it wants the U.S. Federal Reserve to consider adopting the standard. WhatsApp needs a nod from the regulator, the National Payments Corporation of India, to throw open the switch. The first roadblock was the central bank’s requirement that payment data be stored only locally. That hurdle has been crossed, but the service remains restricted. In February, a little-known think tank filed a lawsuit, asking India’s Supreme Court to block payments on WhatsApp “since it’s known to have failed to secure sensitive data of its users.” In an affidavit this week, WhatsApp said that the petition by the “busybody” was not maintainable. Legal challenges in India can drag on endlessly.The popularity of the messaging app, which has more than 400 million Indian users, is its biggest strength and its worst enemy. Take pinBox, which wants to introduce digital micro-pensions to the masses across Asia and Africa. It’s waiting eagerly for WhatsApp payments. The combination of financial and digital illiteracy can be a showstopper; it’s much easier to promote a saving culture on a messaging app where people spend most of their waking hours, anyway. The familiarity with the medium cuts both ways. Recently, the service was used to accuse Muslims in India of deliberately transmitting Covid-19, triggering assaults on the minority community. But then, disinformation isn’t limited either to WhatsApp or India. TikTok, the most-downloaded app during the pandemic, had posts claiming that 5G technology helps spread the virus, fueling violence against telecommunications workers and equipment across the U.K. and Europe. In India, the user-video platform has raised hackles for enabling sharing of content that promotes acid attacks on women.While regulators should push Zuckerberg to keep making social media safer, for instance by restricting message forwarding, they need to be pragmatic when it comes to online payments. China is far ahead. But that market, in the pincer grasp of Alipay and WeChat Pay wallets, isn’t open to U.S. firms. Besides, the scope for replacing cash is bigger in India, where 14% of money supply is still currency in circulation, a figure that China has crunched to 4%. The size of the opportunity is why India is attracting attention.Facebook recently took a 10% stake in Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Platforms Ltd. for $5.7 billion. Jio’s 4G network is India’s biggest, with nearly 400 million customers. Ambani, Asia’s richest man, wants to connect a billion-plus buyers with neighborhood stores, combining physical and digital retail. Payments via WhatsApp will be a way to achieve that link, with brands giving discounts and financiers offering in-store credit based on Jio’s scoring model.Others will catch up. Amazon.com Inc. is planning to take a $2 billion stake in Bharti Airtel Ltd., Jio’s closest rival, Reuters has reported. According to the Financial Times, Google is exploring an investment in Vodafone Group Plc’s struggling India wireless business. (Vodafone Idea Ltd. said there’s no such proposal before its board.) The rising global interest in digitizing the billion-plus-people economy could be sustained, as it coincides with what may be a long-drawn tech cold war between China and the West. Although India has recognized privacy to be a fundamental right, giving grounds for legal challenges against tech firms, it has yet to enact a data protection law. That’s where the focus has to be, not on limiting competition. The central bank needs to strike a balance between safeguarding financial stability and encouraging innovation such as “account aggregators,” who compile and share financial data with the consent of users looking for loans or insurance. With most manufacturing and services in disarray, helping money go viral is India’s best chance to break out of the Covid gloom.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andy Mukherjee is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies and financial services. He previously was a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He has also worked for the Straits Times, ET NOW and Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Miguel McKelvey, co-founder of WeWork with Adam Neumann, to leave company
    Reuters

    Miguel McKelvey, co-founder of WeWork with Adam Neumann, to leave company

    McKelvey's exit comes at a time when the company's core business faces an existential threat as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced its clients to stay away from WeWork offices, weighing heavily on its occupancy rates. "After 10 years, I've made one of the most difficult decisions of my life ... at the end of this month, I'll be leaving WeWork," said McKelvey through a company spokesman.

  • WeWork, Softbank Sued for Investor Fraud Over Failed IPO
    Bloomberg

    WeWork, Softbank Sued for Investor Fraud Over Failed IPO

    (Bloomberg) -- In the latest lawsuit over WeWork’s scuttled IPO, investors say the company hoodwinked them by promoting a transformation of the concept of workspace in order to sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of stock.The complaint was filed as a class action on behalf of investors who bought shares in the privately held company for 2 1/2 years before the IPO was canceled in September and the value of WeWork plummeted. They allege that WeWork executives and board members overhyped the business plan and downplayed its losses as “strategic investment spending that would lay the foundation for profitability.”“As would later be revealed, WeWork was engaged in profligate spending in a reckless bid for growth at all costs –- not in a manner designed to sustainably grow its business, but rather to induce capital raises from investors at ever higher valuations,” according to the complaint filed Wednesday in San Francisco federal court.Softbank Group was an early investor in WeWork and two of its directors, also named in the suit, were on the WeWork board.WeWork didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.(Updates with request for comment from WeWork.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • SoftBank $100 Million Fund to Back Firms Led by People of Color
    Bloomberg

    SoftBank $100 Million Fund to Back Firms Led by People of Color

    (Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Group Corp. started a $100 million fund that will exclusively invest in companies led by people of color, a group that’s historically been underrepresented in the venture capital industry.Marcelo Claure, SoftBank’s chief operating officer, will lead the fund alongside Shu Nyatta, a managing partner who works on the company’s Innovation Fund, according to a statement from the company on Wednesday. The fund will specifically look to support founders from communities that face “systemic disadvantages in building and scaling their businesses,” it said.The effort by Japan’s SoftBank stems from a reaction to protests sweeping the U.S. this week after George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. SoftBank and its Vision Fund have been a major backer of many Silicon Valley startups over the years. The new Opportunity Growth Fund fund will be managed by SoftBank Group International, based in San Carlos, California.The company said it will also adopt a diversity initiative internally and highlighted its Emerge program, which offers mentoring to entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups. The fund’s existence was earlier reported by Axios.SoftBank’s push to promote minority founders joins some other, smaller-scale efforts at promoting diversity in venture capital. In 2018, Andreessen Horowitz launched a $15 million fund designed to help African-Americans enter the technology industry, the Cultural Leadership Fund, which a spokeswoman described as “quite active.” It invests in Andreessen Horowitz portfolio companies that share the same goal, and invests the proceeds in nonprofits that advance black people in technology. The fund’s investors include prominent black cultural leaders such as athlete Kevin Durant and movie stars Will and Jada Smith.In recent days, venture capitalists have voiced their outrage at police brutality toward black people, and many have announced donations to related nonprofits, or, in a few instances, investments in black entrepreneurs. Venture investor Lawrence Lenihan, for example, announced a $500,000 initiative offering grants for 10 “creators of color to build and launch their own fashion brand by August.” Robert Reffkin, co-founder and chief executive officer of real estate company Compass, has been raising money for the Equal Justice Initiative and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Reffkin, whose company is backed by the Vision Fund, is one of the industry’s few black CEOs.“VC-backed startups are overwhelmingly white, male and Ivy-league educated and based in Silicon Valley,” SoftBank’s Claure said in a letter to employees, noting that just 1% of VC-backed founders are black. The Opportunity Growth Fund will be the biggest fund providing capital to black Americans and other people of color, he said.Read more: Europe’s Tech Scene Has a Diversity Problem, Says AtomicoPart of the gains will be donated to “organizations focused on creating opportunities for people of color,” and 50% will be reinvested in subsequent Growth Opportunity Funds, SoftBank said.(Adds industry context starting in the fifth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Softbank Launches $100 Million Fund to Invest in Companies Led by People of Color
    Motley Fool

    Softbank Launches $100 Million Fund to Invest in Companies Led by People of Color

    Admitting the tech stock could do better when it comes to diversity among its own ranks, he wrote Softbank is also developing a diversity and inclusion program, reports Axios. During an interview with CNBC, Claure said the fund came together overnight after getting the nod from Softbank founder Masayoshi Son.

  • Daily Crunch: Zoom reports spectacular growth
    TechCrunch

    Daily Crunch: Zoom reports spectacular growth

    Zoom's latest earnings report was even better than expected, SoftBank announces a new fund to invest in founders of color and Google pulls a trending app that targets apps from China. Zoom’s customer numbers were similarly sharp, with the firm reporting that it had 265,400 customers with more than 10 seats (employees) at the end of the quarter, which was up 354% from the year-ago period. Not all of the news coming out of its latest earnings report was positive, however.

  • Wirecard Said to Add SoftBank Partner to Supervisory Board
    Bloomberg

    Wirecard Said to Add SoftBank Partner to Supervisory Board

    (Bloomberg) -- Embattled German electronic payment provider Wirecard AG is close to naming a partner at SoftBank Group Corp.’s investment arm as a new supervisory board member, continuing its personnel overhaul in an effort to regain shareholder confidence, according to people familiar with the matter.Samuel Merksamer’s appointment could be announced as early as this week and is seen as a vote of confidence by SoftBank in a company whose market value has dropped about 14% this year, the people said, declining to be identified discussing information that isn’t public.Merksamer joined SoftBank Investment Advisers, which controls the $100 billion Vision Fund, last October, and has represented billionaire Carl Icahn on several corporate boards including truck maker Navistar International Corp., American International Group Inc. and Hertz Global Holdings Inc.A spokesman for Wirecard declined to comment. A spokesman for SoftBank Investment Advisers wasn’t immediately available to comment.In April last year, SoftBank agreed to buy $1 billion of Wirecard convertible bonds, and in September cut its exposure in a complex transaction that included signing a “strategic cooperation agreement” with the payments firm. The move was seen as facilitating partnerships between SoftBank’s portfolio companies and Wirecard, including Auto1 Group, Brightstar and Oyo Corp.Wirecard’s supervisory board has five members since former Chairman Wulf Matthias resigned and was replaced by Thomas Eichelmann, who had joined the committee mid-2019. In Germany, supervisory boards have an oversight function and usually consist of 20 members.Read More: Wirecard Expands Management Team in Bid to Revive Investor TrustWirecard has been mired in controversy about its accounting practices and has put off the publication of its 2019 financial results three times. The company has been working with KPMG on a probe into allegations about accounting irregularities brought forward by a series of articles in the Financial Times. A special audit by KPMG in April failed to resolve all concerns and triggered a 26% decline in Wirecard’s stock.Wirecard’s shares rose 1.7% to 94.17 euros at 3:29 p.m. in Frankfurt on Wednesday. (Updates with Wirecard’s share price in final paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • SoftBank launches $100M+ Opportunity Growth Fund to invest in founders of color
    TechCrunch

    SoftBank launches $100M+ Opportunity Growth Fund to invest in founders of color

    As we continue to see protests across the U.S. (and elsewhere) sparked by the killing of George Floyd by police in Minnesota, SoftBank is announcing a new investment vehicle to back entrepreneurs of color, part of its contribution to trying to redress the imbalance of power as it has played out in the tech world. Today it launched the Opportunity Growth Fund, which "will only invest in companies led by founders and entrepreneurs of color," according to an internal memo from SoftBank's COO Marcelo Claure on the new fund. Claure said the fund will initially start with $100 million, meaning that there is scope for SoftBank (the primary limited partner) or other limited partners to add more over time.

  • SoftBank launches $100 million fund investing in 'people of colour'
    Reuters

    SoftBank launches $100 million fund investing in 'people of colour'

    SoftBank Group Corp is launching a $100 million fund to invest in "companies led by founders and entrepreneurs of colour", in the latest corporate action as protests roil the United States. Described as SoftBank's bid to improve diversity, "we have to put money behind it, set plans, and hold ourselves accountable," SoftBank's Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure, who will head the fund, wrote in a letter to employees on Wednesday. Named the "Opportunity Growth Fund" and focused on African Americans and Latinos in the U.S. it is, SoftBank says, the largest fund of its kind.

  • A $100 Billion Robotics Supplier Is Japan’s Second Biggest Firm
    Bloomberg

    A $100 Billion Robotics Supplier Is Japan’s Second Biggest Firm

    (Bloomberg) -- It’s the rise of the robots: Japan’s second-largest company is now a maker of industrial automation systems, highlighting the rising importance of a less visible sector to a nation long associated with consumer-facing brands.Keyence Corp., a maker of machine vision systems and sensors for factories, has jumped 19% this year to become Japan’s second-largest company by market value. At a valuation of over 11 trillion yen ($100 billion), it has overtaken telecommunications giants SoftBank Group Corp., and NTT Docomo Inc., which have jostled for the honor to sit behind Toyota Motor Corp. over most of the past decade.Keyence is famed for its dizzying profitability with an operating profit margin of more than 50%, among the country’s highest. That’s enabled by its “fabless” output model, according to analysts, with production of its array of pressure sensors, barcode readers and laser scanners outsourced to avoid high capital costs.Its industry-leading sales system creates bespoke solutions for clients, and its frequently listed as the highest-paying company in Japan. The surge in its shares has also benefited founder Takemitsu Takizaki, who has overtaken SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son by a good margin to become Japan’s second-richest man.“It’s got everything — high growth, high dividends and a high operating margin,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. “It’s the type of long-term stock you want to leave to your kids or your grandkids.”Keyence has more than tripled in market value since early 2016. “We feel the sense of expectation from our shareholders,” said Keyence director Keiichi Kimura when asked to comment on the milestone. “We’ll do our best to live up to those expectations.”The rise has also underscored how important the country’s parts and robot makers have become to the stock market, shown in the weighting of companies that make up the the country’s benchmark Topix index. Japan stocks were once dominated by banks and automakers — but years of zero rates which now dip into negative have hurt the profitability of the former, while the importance of the latter was declining even before the coronavirus sent the industry into reverse gear.The weighting of the Topix’s Electrical Appliance sector, also home to the likes of Sony Corp., Murata Manufacturing Co., and Fanuc Corp., has increased to almost 15%, the highest in about a decade, as the importance of the Banks and Transportation Equipment sectors have declined. The Information and Communication sector, headed by the five listed companies that dominate Japan’s mobile carriers, is the second-most heavily weighted segment.The growing presence of IT shares has also been a feature in the U.S. stock market, with the sector making up the highest proportion of the S&P 500 Index since the dot-com bubble burst. The coronavirus pandemic has amplified a trend for investors to prefer companies that eliminate humans from the process — a trend Keyence benefits from both with its fabless production model, and by enabling companies to automate their own production.“It’s a business model that grows the more factory automation throughout the world progresses,” said Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities’ Fujito.Founder Takizaki holds about 23% of Keyence’s shares, Bloomberg-compiled data show. For the Topix, which takes the free float of the shares into account in its weightings, those holdings mean Keyence is less heavily weighted than Sony, whose market value trails by comparison. Toyota the biggest company on the index, and even forecasting an 80% drop in profit this year, the automaker remains Japan’s largest business with a market value double that of Keyence.“We like Keyence as it outsources production instead of owning factories, allowing it to focus on R&D,” HSBC analysts including Helen Fang wrote in a May 26 report that initiated coverage of the company with a buy rating. “It also uses a direct-sales model that keeps it close to clients. This strategy means it can better capture market share in a widening array of industries and can focus on high-value client solutions.”While the coronavirus pandemic will depress profits this year, Nomura sees a recovery “to record-high profit levels” the following year and sees a record profit the next, analyst Masayasu Noguchi wrote in a report May 28 raising its target price on the stock.“It’s unclear how long the coronavirus pandemic will continue,” Keyence’s Kimura said. “The global uncertainty is likely to continue and in the midst of that we’ll continue to do what we can.”Factory Automation in Asia May Be First to Recover From PandemicThe notoriously tight-lipped Osaka-based company does not provide earnings guidance in its sparse quarterly disclosure. It’s an outlier in a country where companies are being encouraged to boost their transparency and communication with the market.“They are an efficiency-above-any-other kind of company, so doing extra that doesn’t result in revenue addition is probably less of a priority,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Takeshi Kitaura. “They think generally those following the company are happy when they manage solid earnings and growth.”Yoshiharu Izumi, an analyst at SBI Securities Co., says that Keyence holds talks with shareholders and that reassures investors, and doesn’t view the paucity of disclosure as a problem. “Keyence has overtaken Sony, which is extremely proactive in responding to shareholders,” he said. “When Keyence starts putting energy into disclosure, that might be the time to sell.”(Updates with quotes from Keyence from sixth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • China Roundup: SoftBank leads Didi's $500M round and Meituan crosses $100B valuation
    TechCrunch

    China Roundup: SoftBank leads Didi's $500M round and Meituan crosses $100B valuation

    Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch’s China Roundup, a digest of recent events shaping the Chinese tech landscape and what they mean to people in the rest of the world. Last week, we had a barrage of news ranging from SoftBank's latest bet on China's autonomous driving sector to Chinese apps making waves in the U.S. (not TikTok). TikTok isn’t the only app with a Chinese background that’s making waves in the U.S. A brand new short-video app called Zynn has been topping the iOS chart in America since May 26, just weeks after its debut.

  • SoftBank Leads Investment Round in Didi Chuxing Autonomous Subsidiary
    Motley Fool

    SoftBank Leads Investment Round in Didi Chuxing Autonomous Subsidiary

    SoftBank's Vision Fund 2 led the more than $500 million investment, which is the largest for the Chinese self-driving vehicle market.

  • SoftBank led $500M investment in Didi in China's biggest autonomous driving round
    TechCrunch

    SoftBank led $500M investment in Didi in China's biggest autonomous driving round

    The race to automate vehicles on China's roads is heating up. Didi, the Uber of China, announced on Friday an outsized investment of over $500 million in its freshly minted autonomous driving subsidiary. Leading the round -- the single largest fundraising round in China’s autonomous driving sector -- is its existing investor Softbank, the Japanese telecom giant and startup benefactor that has also backed Uber.

  • SoftBank leads $500 million fundraising for Didi's self-driving unit
    Reuters

    SoftBank leads $500 million fundraising for Didi's self-driving unit

    China's Didi Chuxing said on Friday it had completed a fundraising round of over $500 million (£406.50 million) for its autonomous driving subsidiary that was led by SoftBank Group's <9984.T> Vision Fund 2. The ridehailing giant said in a statement the round marked the first time Didi's autonomous driving business had brought in external funding since it became a standalone unit last year and was also the single largest fundraising round in China's self-driving sector. Didi said it would use the capital to invest further in the research and development of autonomous driving technology as well as testing, and accelerate the deployment of autonomous driving services.

  • Softbank-backed Coupang under scrutiny after South Korea warehouse virus outbreak
    Reuters

    Softbank-backed Coupang under scrutiny after South Korea warehouse virus outbreak

    Deluged with online orders as the coronavirus epidemic swept South Korea, e-commerce giant Coupang opened a new groceries warehouse and logistics centre near Seoul in March, providing food and other essentials to shoppers sheltering at home. More than 100 cases linked to the Coupang facility have been recorded in less than a week, raising the spectre of a second wave of COVID-19 in a country praised for containing the first outbreak. Coupang, backed by Japan's SoftBank and dubbed the Amazon of South Korea, hired thousands of temporary workers to staff the 24-hour operation.

  • Softbank-backed Coupang under scrutiny after S.Korea warehouse virus outbreak
    Reuters

    Softbank-backed Coupang under scrutiny after S.Korea warehouse virus outbreak

    Deluged with online orders as the coronavirus epidemic swept South Korea, e-commerce giant Coupang opened a new groceries warehouse and logistics centre near Seoul in March, providing food and other essentials to shoppers sheltering at home. More than 100 cases linked to the Coupang facility have been recorded in less than a week, raising the spectre of a second wave of COVID-19 in a country praised for containing the first outbreak. Coupang, backed by Japan's SoftBank and dubbed the Amazon of South Korea, hired thousands of temporary workers to staff the 24-hour operation.

  • SoftBank Vision Fund head's pay doubled last year despite massive losses
    Reuters

    SoftBank Vision Fund head's pay doubled last year despite massive losses

    The figure was second only to remuneration for SoftBank Group Corp <9984.T> Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure, which rose 17% to 2.1 billion yen. While offering big pay packets to foreign executives, compensation for CEO Masayoshi Son was 209 million yen, a 9% decline compared to a year earlier, a SoftBank filing showed.

  • Bloomberg

    SoftBank Doubles Vision Fund Chief’s Pay Despite Record Loss

    (Bloomberg) -- The head of SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund received a substantial increase in compensation even as the investment business delivered a $17.7 billion loss.Rajeev Misra earned 1.61 billion yen ($15 million) in the year ended March 31, more than double his pay a year earlier, SoftBank said in a statement on Friday. The Vision Fund lost 1.9 trillion yen in the period, triggering the worst loss ever in the Japanese company’s 39-year history.SoftBank had to write down the valuations of companies like WeWork and Uber Technologies Inc. because of business missteps and the coronavirus fallout. Its return on the fund was negative 6%, compared with 62% just a year ago. Still, Misra was SoftBank’s second-highest-paid executive last year after Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure, even though Misra received no bonus and most of his compensation was in base pay. Founder Masayoshi Son took a 9% compensation cut, earning 209 million yen.“What kind of message is Son sending by giving Misra a raise despite the disastrous results he delivered?” said Atul Goyal, senior analyst at Jefferies Group. “The optics is just not good.”The pay hike for Misra comes at a time when the Vision Fund is planning deep cuts in staffing. The reductions across all levels of staff could affect about 10% of the fund’s workforce of roughly 500, according to people familiar with the matter. The Vision Fund, which has stopped making new investments after spending 85% of its capital, lists 30 people as investors on its website, including all of its managing partners, partners and directors.The fund has struggled since WeWork botched its efforts to go public last year and SoftBank stepped in to bail the company out. The Vision Fund currently manages more than 80 portfolio companies, but Son expects about 15 of the fund’s startups will likely go bankrupt while predicting another 15 will thrive.Separately, SoftBank is moving two managing partners at the Vision Fund into new roles. Akshay Naheta will become senior vice president, assisting Son in investments and providing strategic advice. Kentaro Matsui will transition to a senior advisory role at SoftBank Group.Claure, who helped close Sprint Corp.’s merger with T-Mobile US Inc. and is leading the effort to turn around WeWork, made 2.11 billion yen, a 17% raise. He also oversees a Latin American investment fund for SoftBank.SoftBank declined to comment on the reasons for changes in pay.Chief Strategy Officer Katsunori Sago earned 1.11 billion yen, a 13% increase for the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive. Ken Miyauchi, head of SoftBank’s domestic telecom operation, made 699 million yen, a 43% drop. Simon Segars, head of its ARM Holdings Plc chip unit, did not make the list because his pay dropped below 100 million yen. Segars earned 1.1 billion yen the previous year.Ronald Fisher, Son’s long-time lieutenant and SoftBank Group vice chairman, saw his pay plunge 79% to 680 million yen. Fisher’s remuneration from the Vision Fund, where he runs the U.S. operations, totaled 1.27 billion yen, including a 767 million yen bonus. But he lost 701 million yen in compensation not related to the fund. SoftBank said the drop reflects a decline in stock price, but didn’t provide further details.SoftBank’s disastrous bet on WeWork has been viewed internally as Fisher’s project. Before SoftBank first invested in the company in 2017, Fisher met with executives at IWG Plc, a European competitor with a much lower valuation and many more sites, according to people familiar with the matter. Fisher interpreted the unfavorable metrics as a sign of growth potential. A month later, the Vision Fund led a $4.4 billion investment round into WeWork at a $20 billion valuation.Last year, after WeWork’s effort to go public fell apart, SoftBank stepped in to organize a bailout and put Claure in charge of turning around the business. But the pandemic has hammered its operations as workers shy away from gathering in shared office spaces. Earlier this month, SoftBank wrote down the value of its stake to $2.9 billion, more than 90% lower than its peak.(Updates with analyst comment in fourth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • SoftBank Hands New Roles to Two Vision Fund Managing Partners
    Bloomberg

    SoftBank Hands New Roles to Two Vision Fund Managing Partners

    (Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Group Corp. has named Akshay Naheta senior vice president, moving the Vision Fund managing partner to a new role as the company looks for ways to improve its governance and stem losses, according to people familiar with the matter.Abu Dhabi-based Naheta will assist SoftBank founder and Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son in managing the conglomerate’s investments function and will provide strategic advice to its global management team, said some of the people, who asked not to be identified because the appointment isn’t yet public. Naheta will start his new role in June, one of them said.Another Vision Fund managing partner, Tokyo-based Kentaro Matsui, will transition to a senior advisory role at SoftBank Group, one of the people said. The moves were mutual decisions and part of an effort to refine the originally $100 billion fund’s operating model, the person added. Both Matsui and Naheta -- whose previous roles were focused on Asia and the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions, respectively -- are expected to continue to work on select Vision Fund activities.A spokeswoman for SoftBank and a spokesman for SoftBank’s Vision Fund declined to comment. The senior vice president title at SoftBank Group is held by the likes of its chief financial officer and chief legal officer.The executive reshuffle signals a heightened focus on SoftBank’s senior ranks in a period of turbulence for the Japanese conglomerate. The company reported the biggest annual loss in its history this month as Vision Fund portfolio companies lost value, and it’s been facing pressure from hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. to bolster governance and buy back stock.Read more: SoftBank’s Masa-Misra Partnership Strained by Losses, InfightingNaheta, who oversaw investments in the likes of chip designer Nvidia Corp., pharmaceutical company Roivant Sciences Ltd. and German online car trader Auto1, is close to Middle Eastern investor Mubadala Investment Co. and had been working on raising funds for a second Vision Fund, according to a person familiar with the matter.Matsui, who focused on investments in China, oversaw the Vision Fund’s bets on companies including Full Truck Alliance and Ping An Good Doctor.Potential LayoffsSoftBank’s Vision Fund is weighing job cuts that could affect about 10% of the company’s workforce after reporting about $18 billion in losses from the declining value of its startups, people familiar with the matter have said. In recent weeks, a separate SoftBank unit, SoftBank Group International, cut roughly 10% of staff.SoftBank earlier this month said it plans to spend as much as 500 billion yen ($4.6 billion) to buy back shares through next March, on top of an existing repurchase plan of the same size. The conglomerate is accelerating efforts to raise cash and is closing in on a deal to sell about $20 billion of its stock in T-Mobile US Inc., people familiar with the matter said previously.Before joining the Vision Fund, Naheta was managing partner of investment firm Knight Assets & Co. and head of principal strategies at Deutsche Bank AG. Matsui previously worked for Mizuho Securities Co. where he advised on some of SoftBank’s largest bets, including Arm, Vodafone Japan and Sprint.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • With M&A Hit, Wall Street Bankers Keep Busy With Stock Sales
    Bloomberg

    With M&A Hit, Wall Street Bankers Keep Busy With Stock Sales

    (Bloomberg) -- Wall Street bankers are a lot less busy these days, what with the pandemic-induced drop-off in mergers and acquisitions and initial public offerings.But there’s a gritty, less glamorous dealmaking realm that has held up, and it’s helping banks offset some of that lost M&A and IPO revenue. A variety of companies, looking for liquidity in the weak economy, are selling off big stakes they’ve long held in public corporations.The latest came Monday when French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi launched a $13 billion sale of its 16-year-old, 21% stake in Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. Regeneron, a New York-based biopharmaceutical firm, agreed to buy back about $5 billion of stock while the remaining $7 billion was sold to public investors in the largest public equity offering in the heath-care industry on record, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Sanofi’s move came a few weeks after the pandemic’s first big deal of this kind, PNC Financial Services Group Inc.’s sale of its quarter-century-old stake of more than $13 billion in BlackRock Inc. The sale was the second-largest equity offering in the U.S. since Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s $25 billion IPO in 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.PNC’s BlackRock stake was picked up by existing investors including Wellington Management, Capital Group Cos. and Fidelity Investments, according to people familiar with the matter. At least four state investment vehicles from the Middle East also took part in the offering, the people said.More such sales are coming. SoftBank Group Corp. raised $11.5 billion from transactions related to its stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. which it bought in 2000, and another $2.9 billion capitalizing a 5% stake in its wireless arm. It is also closing in on a deal to sell its roughly 25% T-Mobile US Inc. stake, worth about $20 billion, with a portion being sold to Deutsche Telekom AG, people familiar with the matter have said.These transactions so far account for some of the biggest-ever announced of their kind. All told, there’s been $80.6 billion over 21 secondary offerings announced this year, which beats $53.1 billion over 36 such deals during the same period last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.That compares with a 33% drop to $22 billion in volume this year for IPOs in the U.S., the data shows. M&A activity involving U.S.-based targets plummeted 62% during the same period, sinking to $241 billion, according to the data.For Wall Street, the secondary offerings aren’t as lucrative as other dealmaking but they require less work. Banks usually receive about 1% to 2% of the deal size for advisers fees, compared with 5% to 7% for handling an IPO. But IPOs often involve intensive road shows lasting weeks.Jim Cooney, head of equity capital markets for the Americas at Bank of America Corp., said selling stakes can make sense in the current economy. “The market prefers that companies stick to their core mission and monetize non-strategic assets before selling their own equity,” he said.The offerings mark another way that companies, distressed or not, have been hunting for liquidity since the beginning of the pandemic. Some have drawn down revolving credit lines, sold bonds or new shares and sold stakes to private equity firms. Investors have been willing buyers of shares, attracted by the discounts since shares are marketed at prices below where the stock is trading.These stake sales have investors speculating on what holdings could be unwound next. Here are some sizable ones to watch based on Bloomberg’s data. Bloomberg News isn’t aware of talks about potential sales of these stakes.SoftBank, UberSoftBank is Uber Technologies Inc.’s largest shareholder with a 13% stake worth $7.7 billion. The Japanese conglomerate, led by founder Masayoshi Son, forecasts an operating loss of 1.4 trillion yen ($13 billion) for the fiscal year ended in March after writing down values of the Vision Fund’s investments including WeWork and OneWeb, a satellite operator that filed for bankruptcy.While it isn’t SoftBank’s oldest or most sizable investment, it could help to recoup some losses.Walgreens Boots, AmerisourceBergenWalgreens Boots Alliance Inc. is the largest shareholder in AmerisourceBergen Corp. with a 28% stake, worth about $5.3 billion. AmerisourceBergen recently made an offer to buy the Walgreens pharmaceutical wholesale division, Reuters reported earlier this month.The news had analysts speculating it could be part of a transaction related to Walgreens exiting part of its stake in AmerisourceBergen. The two companies first saw their paths intertwine in 2013 through a $400 million distribution deal that was supposed to last a decade.Nestle, L’OrealSanofi’s deal to sell Regeneron stock also had analysts speculating it could buy back L’Oreal SA’s 9.4% stake in the drug company.That, in turn, raises the possibility that L’Oreal would buy back a 23% stake worth $35.5 billion that Nestle SA holds in the French cosmetics maker. Since this is a 40-year plus relationship, the deal idea has been long pitched by bankers. Over the years, both sides have said that the investment is long-term.HKEx, Kweichow MoutaiHong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd., owner of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, has a 8.5% stake worth $20 billion in distiller Kweichow Moutai Co.Kweichow Moutai has become a favorite stock in mainland China, and is up 15% this year, while the Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index fell 6.7%. Cashing out could help fuel HKEx’s ambitions as a dealmaker. It made a surprise bid for the London Stock Exchange last year.Mondelez, Dr PepperMondelez International Inc., the maker of Oreo cookies and Triscuit crackers, holds about about 13% of Keurig Dr Pepper, following a deal in 2018 when Keurig took control of the soda maker. In early March, right as the pandemic led to lockdowns in North America, Mondelez, and another investor connected to JAB Holdings BV called Maple Holdings BV,sold a $1.1 billion stake in Dr Pepper.The broader question for investors is whether Mondelez could sell more of its shares, Bank of America analyst Bryan Spillane said at the time. Mondelez could tap its equity stakes as a source of liquidity to fund acquisitions, he said.Coke, MonsterThe Coca-Cola Co. owns more than 18% of Monster Beverage Corp.’s stock, making it the Corona, California-based company’s largest shareholder, and Monster also uses Coke’s distribution network. While Coke took the minority stake back in 2014 in a push to capitalize on promising new brands, the beverage giant is getting more aggressive with its own offerings, which has sparked tensions with Monster. Analysts have been trying to figure out what Coke’s energy products mean for the future of the partnership.Liberty Broadband, CharterA 26% stake in Charter Communications Inc. has become a crown jewel for John Malone’s Liberty Broadband Corp. which has guided the company on acquisitions since it invested in 2013. But Malone, a savvy dealmaker, has not stopped reshaping his portfolio even in a pandemic and helped pull off a merger of Liberty Global’s U.K. business with Telefonica SA’s earlier this month.(Updates with BlackRock investors in fifth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • WeWork Board Factions Head for Clash Over New Directors
    Bloomberg

    WeWork Board Factions Head for Clash Over New Directors

    (Bloomberg) -- WeWork’s board is scheduled to vote on appointing two new directors on Friday, a critical step in a clash between shareholder SoftBank Group Corp. and a rival faction at the troubled co-working startup.A lawyer for WeWork told Delaware Chancery Court Judge Andre Bouchard in a letter that the company plans a May 29 meeting to fill two empty independent director seats. The nominees are Alex Dimitrief, General Electric Co.’s ex-top lawyer, and Frederick Arnold, the former chief financial officer for Convergex Group.SoftBank and the rival board faction are feuding over the Japanese conglomerate’s decision to scrap a $3 billion deal to buy stock from WeWork’s former Chief Executive Officer Adam Neumann and other shareholders. SoftBank agreed to the purchase last year as it bailed out the struggling startup, but then notified stockholders in March that some of the deal’s conditions hadn’t been met.Two independent WeWork directors then sued SoftBank for not following through on the transaction. One of them, Bruce Dunlevie, is a partner at the venture firm Benchmark Capital, which had planned on selling WeWork shares to SoftBank as part of the agreement.The new directors, who are expected to butt heads with the pair who filed the suit, will be on a special board committee tasked with deciding whether Dunlevie and another board member, Lew Frankfort, can properly represent the company in the SoftBank suit.In a court hearing Wednesday, Bouchard rejected bids by Dunlevie and Frankfort to block WeWork from adding new directors. Dunlevie and Frankfort were the only members of the earlier special committee that made the decision to sue. They had sought a so-called “status quo” order to maintain the company’s operations during the SoftBank litigation.“We believe SoftBank has no basis to question the special committee’s authority to bring this action and we are pleased by the court’s recognition that any effort by SoftBank to challenge that authority must be presented” to Bouchard, a spokesman for Dunlevie and Frankfort said Wednesday.SoftBank-backed WeWork officials said they are acting in the best interest of the company.“WeWork is pursuing best practices of corporate governance to determine what role if any WeWork should have in this contractual dispute among its shareholders,” Sarah Lubman, a SoftBank spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement. “The court’s decision today allows that process to go forward.”In their suit, Dunlevie and Frankfort contend SoftBank had “buyer’s remorse” and reneged on promises to “use its reasonable best efforts to consummate” the stock-purchase agreement.They also noted the agreement doesn’t contain a so-called “material adverse effect” provision or similar termination right that is common in such deals. Two years ago, a Delaware judge found such a provision permitted Germany’s Fresenius SE to walk away from its takeover of U.S. rival generic drugmaker Akorn Inc.In a message to shareholders in March, Softbank cited nearly a half-dozen conditions for the deal that WeWork officials hadn’t met, including a failure to renegotiate some leases in the wake of the economic havoc caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.Neumann -- who would have reaped the biggest windfall from the deal -- filed his own suit earlier this month claiming SoftBank is relying on legally faulty pretexts to scuttle the deal.The dispute is among several busted-deal cases tied to Covid-19 that landed in Delaware’s business court. The state is the corporate home to more than half of U.S. public companies and more than 60% of Fortune 500 firms. Chancery judges hear cases without juries and can’t award punitive damages.Dunlevie’s and Frankfort’s suit is The We Company v. SoftBank Group Corp, No. 2020-0258, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington). Neumann’s case is Neumann v. SoftBank Group Corp, Delaware Chancery Court.(Updates with judge’s denial of status-quo order in sixth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Google Considers Stake in India’s Vodafone Idea, FT Says

    (Bloomberg) -- Follow Bloomberg on LINE messenger for all the business news and analysis you need.Alphabet Inc.’s Google is considering acquiring a stake in Vodafone Group Plc’s struggling Indian business, the Financial Times reported, joining Facebook Inc. in investing in the world’s fastest-growing mobile arena.Google may take a stake of about 5% in Vodafone Idea, a partnership between the U.K. telecom carrier and the Aditya Birla Group, though the deliberations are at a very early state, the FT cited people familiar with the matter as saying.Any deal would come weeks after Facebook paid $5.7 billion for a slice of digital assets controlled by Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest man. The deal was a landmark investment followed in successive days by major influxes of capital into India’s tech industry led by private equity firms.Spokespeople from Vodafone and Vodafone Idea declined to comment. Google itself has big ambitions for India, a country with a huge first-time internet user population that serves as a test-bed for innovations in smartphone technology.Facebook’s alliance with Ambani’s Reliance inserted a powerful new competitor into a crowded Indian internet industry already contested by Google, Walmart Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and SoftBank Group Corp.-backed local outfit Paytm. But none of them have the reach of WhatsApp, the nation’s most popular communications platform.India has been a critical component of Google’s Next Billion Users initiative, its attempt to rope in hundreds of millions of users as they come on the internet in emerging markets like India. It’s targeted users in the market for products as varied as train station Wi-Fi, maps and digital payments. Vodafone’s Indian telecom unit is struggling following a $4 billion demand for back fees in addition to more than $14 billion of debt. The wireless operator, formed by the merger of Vodafone Group’s local unit and billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla’s Idea Cellular Ltd., hasn’t reported a quarterly profit since announcing the deal in 2017, and is headed toward insolvency in the absence of any relief from the government, Birla warned in December.India’s top court recently sided with the government and ordered that the full amount of back fees be paid within three months. When the companies dithered and filed pleas, the Supreme Court threatened to initiate contempt proceedings for non-compliance.(Updated with context throughout, comment from Vodafone)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    SoftBank’s Vision Fund Is Planning to Cut 10% of Staff

    (Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund is planning deep cuts in staffing after reporting about $18 billion in losses from the declining value of its startups, according to people familiar with the matter.The reductions could affect about 10% of the fund’s workforce of roughly 500, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified discussing personnel decisions. The Vision Fund’s headquarters are in London, with additional operations in Tokyo and California. The cuts will be across all levels of staff, said one person.A spokesman for the Vision Fund declined to comment.SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son and his $100 billion Vision Fund changed the tech industry by handing out enormous checks to relatively unproven startups. But the fund went from SoftBank’s main profit contributor a year ago to its biggest drag on earnings. It lost 1.9 trillion yen ($17.7 billion) last fiscal year after writing down the value of investments, including WeWork and Uber Technologies Inc.Son originally said he hoped to raise a new Vision Fund every two to three years, but he has conceded he can’t attract money now because of the poor performance. The fund, led by Rajeev Misra, operates as a SoftBank affiliate with most of the money coming from limited partners, led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co.“It makes sense that SoftBank is cutting positions at the Vision Fund as they are in an extremely difficult situation, and they may start targeting highly paid workers to cut costs,” said Koji Hirai, head of M&A advisory firm Kachitas Corp. in Tokyo.The Vision Fund grew rapidly after launch three years ago as Misra recruited scores of people from the finance industry, including many of his former colleagues from Deutsche Bank. Among its managing partners are several of the German bank’s ex-employees, including Colin Fan, former co-head of its investment banking division.The fund also set up an unusual compensation structure that includes a $5 billion loan to employees. The debt is swapped for equity in the fund and generates profit when deals make money -- and losses when they don’t, scaled by seniority, people familiar with the matter have said. The poor performance so far, along with the layoffs, may prompt some employees to look for other positions.“One side effect is that the best people at SoftBank may exit to find better funds,” said Hirai. “If so, their fund business may become even worse, sliding down from a slope.”The Vision Fund has struggled since WeWork botched its efforts to go public last year and SoftBank stepped in to bail the company out. The Vision Fund currently manages more than 80 portfolio companies, but Son expects about 15 of the fund’s startups will likely go bankrupt while predicting another 15 will thrive.“Vision Fund’s results are not something to be proud of,” Son said earlier this month as he announced record losses. “If the results are bad, you can’t raise money from investors. Things aren’t good, that’s why we are investing with our own money.”The fund has already unwound some investments, including selling a nearly 50% stake in dog-walking startup Wag Labs back to the company last year. Son has said he plans to sell off about $42 billion in assets to finance stock buybacks and pay down debt.SoftBank disclosed it’s unloading some shares in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and is in talks to sell about $20 billion of T-Mobile US Inc., Bloomberg News reported. It’s also exploring a deal for its minority stake in industrial software maker OSIsoft LLC that could be worth $1.5 billion.SoftBank shares, after plummeting in March, have recovered and are little changed for the year. The stock rose just more than 1% in Tokyo trading.One emerging question is how Alibaba -- SoftBank’s most valuable holding -- will be affected by the clash between the U.S. and China. A bill just approved by the U.S. Senate could force Chinese companies like Alibaba to stop trading their shares on U.S. exchanges.“The big picture is SoftBank is caught up with U.S.-China conflict right now, and SoftBank may need to conduct a drastic restructuring if Alibaba was delisted from New York,” said Hirai. “Its main banks and the capital markets are anxiously awaiting an outcome for the situation.”(Updates with additional details starting in the first paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • ByteDance Hit $3 Billion in Net Profit Last Year
    Bloomberg

    ByteDance Hit $3 Billion in Net Profit Last Year

    (Bloomberg) -- TikTok’s parent ByteDance Ltd. generated more than $3 billion of net profit on over $17 billion in revenue last year, figures that show the world’s most valuable startup is still growing at a brisk rate, according to people familiar with the matter.The revenue for last year was more than double the company’s tally of about $7.4 billion in 2018, propelled by phenomenal growth in user traffic that’s drawn advertisers away from Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Baidu Inc. The people asked not to be identified because the financial details are private.ByteDance has emerged as one of the tech industry’s most surprising success stories, an innovative Chinese company that is challenging the global dominance of U.S. internet giants. It draws some 1.5 billion monthly active users to a family of apps that includes the TikTok short-video platform, its Chinese twin Douyin and the news service Toutiao. This month, the company poached Walt Disney Co. streaming czar Kevin Mayer to become chief executive officer of TikTok.The company owes much of its success to TikTok, now the online repository of choice for lip-synching and dance videos by American teens. The ambitious company is also pushing aggressively into a plethora of new arenas from gaming and search to music. ByteDance could fetch a valuation of between $150 billion and $180 billion in an initial public offering, a premium relative to sales of as much as 20% to social media giant Tencent thanks to a larger global footprint and burgeoning games business, estimated Ke Yan, Singapore-based analyst with DZT Research.“None of the Chinese tech companies has achieved this level of success in the global market before ByteDance,” he said, adding neither social media company harbors much debt. “The fact that ByteDance is making profit, if true, and sitting on a $6 billion cash pile means that it is not in a rush at all to come to market to raise capital, and therefore less likely to offer the shares at a more reasonable price for IPO investors.”ByteDance, led by Zhang Yiming, is becoming a viable rival to the dominant American online behemoths, Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc. Facebook unit Instagram brought in about $20 billion in advertising revenue in 2019, Bloomberg previously reported. Google said its video unit YouTube recorded $15.1 billion in ad sales last year.ByteDance representatives didn’t respond to a request for comment.That success has come despite American lawmakers raising concerns about privacy and censorship. In a rare bipartisan effort in Washington, Republican Senator Tom Cotton and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer last year urged an investigation into TikTok, labeling it a national security threat.President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to regulate or shut down social media companies, tweeting that the platforms attempt to silence conservative voices. Twitter Inc. on Tuesday added a fact-checking link to two of Trump’s tweets to his 80 million followers.ByteDance is strengthening its operations in newer arenas such as e-commerce and gaming. This year, it kicked off a wave of hiring and envisions hitting 40,000 new jobs in 2020, hoping to match headcount of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. at a time technology corporations across the globe are furloughing or reducing staff.The company had very preliminary discussions about an initial public offering last year, but is in no rush to go public given its financial performance, people have said. It now has more than $6 billion of cash on hand, the people said.ByteDance, which is backed by SoftBank Group Corp., General Atlantic and Sequoia, is already the world’s most valuable startup, according to researcher CB Insights. Some private trades recently valued the Chinese company between $105 billion and $110 billion on the secondary markets, Bloomberg News previously reported. It has also traded as high as $140 billion, one person said, making it one of the most highly valued private companies of all time.(Updates with Trump tweets in ninth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • SoftBank’s Vision Fund to Explore Sale of OSIsoft Stake
    Bloomberg

    SoftBank’s Vision Fund to Explore Sale of OSIsoft Stake

    (Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Group Corp. is exploring a sale of a minority stake in OSIsoft LLC that could be worth more than $1.5 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.SoftBank is working with a financial adviser to sell the stake in the industrial software company, which is held by its Vision Fund, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. The move is part of SoftBank’s new focus on raising cash, they said.The Japanese firm’s plans aren’t final and it could opt to keep the stake, the people said.Representatives for the Vision Fund and OSIsoft declined to comment.SoftBank Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son has said he would sell off about $42 billion in assets to finance stock buybacks and pay down debt. SoftBank disclosed it’s selling shares in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and it’s in talks to sell about $20 billion of T-Mobile US Inc., Bloomberg News reported.SoftBank’s Vision Fund has unwound some investments, including dumping its entire stake in chipmaker Nvidia Corp. in February 2019. The fund, which has made bets on companies like WeWork that have cratered, sold a nearly 50% stake in dog walking startup Wag Labs back to the company last year.San Leandro-California based OSIsoft sells software into sectors including oil and gas, utilities and pharmaceutical development, according to its website.SoftBank acquired a “significant minority stake” in the company in 2017 from backers including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and TCV, according to a statement. Its investment was worth a bit less than $1 billion, a person familiar with the matter said at the time.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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