SFTBY - SoftBank Group Corp.

Other OTC - Other OTC Delayed Price. Currency in USD
19.69
+0.16 (+0.82%)
At close: 4:00PM EST
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Previous Close19.53
Open19.58
Bid0.00 x 0
Ask0.00 x 0
Day's Range19.58 - 19.75
52 Week Range15.54 - 28.04
Volume324,130
Avg. Volume1,066,188
Market Cap81.525B
Beta (3Y Monthly)1.60
PE Ratio (TTM)2.75
EPS (TTM)7.15
Earnings DateN/A
Forward Dividend & Yield0.10 (0.52%)
Ex-Dividend Date2019-03-28
1y Target EstN/A
  • Bloomberg

    SoftBank's New Tech Fund to Fall Short of Target, Telegraph Says

    (Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Group Corp. has scaled back ambitions for its second Vision Fund after the failure of big bets including WeWork by its first fund rattled partners such as Saudi Arabia, according to the Sunday Telegraph.The second Vision Fund is expected to fall significantly short of the $108 billion originally planned, the Sunday Telegraph report said, citing unidentified people with knowledge of the matter.Discussions are continuing with potential partners including Mubadala Investment Co. and the Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth funds of Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia, but neither has yet committed to the new fund, the report said. A SoftBank Vision Fund spokesman told the newspaper that fundraising was progressing as expected as external investors assess their potential commitments.SoftBank’s massive investment in WeWork triggered a multi-billion dollar writedown and a rare apology from founder Masayoshi Son. The Japanese company was forced to provide a $9.5 billion rescue package to the shared-office-space provider in October after it withdrew an initial public offering.Read more: SoftBank’s Second Vision Fund Starts Life a Lot SmallerTo contact the reporter on this story: Bill Lehane in London at blehane@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alaric Nightingale at anightingal1@bloomberg.net, Patrick Henry, Cecile GutscherFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Style Theory, a fashion rental startup in Southeast Asia, raises $15 million led by SoftBank Ventures Asia
    TechCrunch

    Style Theory, a fashion rental startup in Southeast Asia, raises $15 million led by SoftBank Ventures Asia

    Style Theory, a platform for renting designer apparel in Indonesia and Singapore, announced today it has raised $15 million in Series B funding. It was led by SoftBank Ventures Asia, the early-stage venture arm of SoftBank Group, with participation from other investors, including Alpha JWC Ventures and the Paradise Group. Both SoftBank Ventures Asia and Alpha JWC Ventures are returning investors, having previously participated in Style Theory’s Series A.

  • SoftBank's Son sticks with gut-led investing in chat with Alibaba's Ma
    Reuters

    SoftBank's Son sticks with gut-led investing in chat with Alibaba's Ma

    Weeks after his billion-dollar bailout of WeWork, SoftBank Group Corp's founder and CEO Masayoshi Son reiterated his belief in an instinct-led investing style, in a discussion with Alibaba Group Holding Inc's co-founder Jack Ma. SoftBank owns 26% of China's Alibaba, with its origin in a $20 million (15.6 million pounds) investment in 2000, and the stake is now worth more than the Japanese firm's market capitalization. Son on Friday said the decision to invest in Alibaba was driven by a gut feeling.

  • SoftBank pours $100M into Mexico’s Konfio
    TechCrunch

    SoftBank pours $100M into Mexico’s Konfio

    Three months after Goldman Sachs lent $100 million to Mexican fintech Konfio, SoftBank has invested another $100 million into the financial services company. The investment confirms Reuters' August report that SoftBank was in advanced talks with the startup -- now one of the most heavily funded fintechs in Mexico. SoftBank is continuing to expand its Mexican portfolio, which now includes used car buying platform Kavak and payments startup Clip.

  • Bloomberg

    SoftBank Deepens Mexico Bet With $100 Million for Lender Konfio

    (Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Group Corp. is leading $100 million in funding for a Mexican small-business lender, its third investment in the country since the Japanese technology giant announced a multibillion-dollar foray into Latin America.The Mexican company, called Konfio, will use the funds to expand working-capital loans and introduce new products, said investor-relations director Gregorio Tomassi. Founded in 2013, Konfio lends money to small and medium-sized companies, which are often underserved by traditional banks.Konfio’s loans average $12,000, significantly below banks’ average business loan of $40,000, Tomassi said. Users can fill out an application in as little as eight minutes and can have the money in their pocket in the following 24 hours without any collateral, he said.“We consider ourselves a tech company that’s focused on resolving one of the biggest problems for small and medium-sized businesses, which is access to credit,” Tomassi said. “We grant quick loans based on technology, alternative data sources, artificial intelligence and data science.”SoftBank launched a $5 billion fund in March aimed at new technology companies in Latin America, and has its sights on roughly 300 targets. SoftBank’s expansion in the region is being overseen by SoftBank Group International’s chief executive officer, Marcelo Claure, who was also recently appointed WeWork’s new executive chairman.The Japanese firm has already doled out more than $1 billion of its fund, with several investments in Brazil, including MadeiraMadeira Comercio Eletronico SA, Loggi Tecnologia Ltd. and Banco Inter SA, and Rappi SAS in Colombia. The fund’s first investments in Mexico were in used-car sales platform Kavak and payments firm Clip.Early InvestorsThe company’s investment in Konfio will be used to expand working capital loans and introduce new products, Tomassi said. Other investors in the fourth-stage funding include QED Investors, Kaszek Ventures and Vostok Emerging Finance Ltd., who were all early backers in the Mexico City-based startup. Konfio previously raised around $300 million in capital and credit lines, counting the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corp. as a backer.New products that Konfio is considering include providing businesses analysis of customers’ credit reports and expanding an online marketplace named Konsiento, where businesses can find legal services, website designers and office supplies at a discount. On average, Konfio’s clients grew sales by 28% in the six months after receiving a loan, compared to the year-earlier period, Tomassi said.Last month SoftBank reported its first operating loss in 14 years of 704.4 billion yen ($6.5 billion) after writing down the value of a string of marquee investments. It reported 537.9 billion yen of unrealized losses in investments including Uber and WeWork. Its signature Vision Fund -- the world’s single largest pool of startup investments -- reported a 970.3 billion yen loss in the quarter.To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Navarro in Mexico City at anavarro30@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Case at bcase4@bloomberg.net, Susan WarrenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    SoftBank-Backed OYO Elevates Key Executive to Board

    (Bloomberg) -- OYO Hotels, the SoftBank Group Corp.-backed startup that’s built up a large chain of branded hotels and vacation homes around the world, has elevated a key executive to the board to help it focus on profitability and quality control.Aditya Ghosh, who had served as OYO’s chief executive officer for India and South Asia, is stepping up to a board position and will be succeeded by Rohit Kapoor, the company’s current new real estate businesses chief. On the board of directors, Ghosh joins founder and group CEO Ritesh Agarwal, SoftBank Vision Fund Managing Partner Munish Varma and recent addition Betsy Atkins, an early investor in Yahoo and EBay Inc, among others.Before joining OYO a year ago, Ghosh headed up India’s leading budget airline Indigo. He is now set to focus on sustainability and the path to profitability, OYO said in a statement on Monday. Ghosh will oversee a wide portfolio of business areas, spanning safety and security, customer experience, corporate governance, revenue management and stakeholder communications. OYO has been growing at a rapid speed, but its reputation has been tarnished along the way by customer complaints about bad experiences and grievances about poor or unfair treatment from several of the over 20,000 hotel owners in its chain.Citing Ghosh’s strong business acumen and track record, OYO group CEO Agarwal said he is “the perfect choice for this larger and more strategic role, at a global level.” Ghosh said he would further build OYO as a global brand “by not just growing fast but growing right.”OYO, based in Gurgaon in the suburbs of India’s capital New Delhi, was founded six years ago by then-teenager Ritesh Agarwal. For India’s budget travelers, OYO’s promise of standardized and predictable quality stays was a breath of fresh air from a hotel-booking market that was rife with misleadingly pretty online photos that bore little resemblance to the decrepit rooms found upon arrival. The company’s staff help hotel owners upgrade everything from linen to bathroom fixtures to toiletries, with a bright red OYO sign acting as a seal of approval, encouraging travelers to book on its website. OYO takes a cut of roughly 20%.SoftBank’s Vision Fund has so far invested approximately $1.5 billion in OYO pushing its valuation to $10 billion. Other investors include Airbnb Inc., Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners. OYO is the first Indian startup to achieve global scale, growing quickly in major markets like China and the U.S.Earlier this year, Agarwal, now 26, announced that he was borrowing about $2 billion to buy back a 20% OYO stake from other investors, with help from financial institutions. SoftBank Group founder Masayoshi Son personally guaranteed the loans to Agarwal, according to one person familiar with the matter, and among the institutions funding the buyback was Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group Inc., other people familiar with the matter have said. Mizuho has declined to comment.To contact the reporter on this story: Saritha Rai in Bangalore at srai33@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at echan273@bloomberg.net, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Japanese fashion tycoon Maezawa shows off $900 million SoftBank payday
    Reuters

    Japanese fashion tycoon Maezawa shows off $900 million SoftBank payday

    Japan's Yusaku Maezawa on Friday posted footage of a $900 million (701.5 million pounds) payday for the fashion magnate following his sale of a stake in Zozo Inc , the online fashion retailer he founded, to SoftBank Group Corp . In a video posted to YouTube, Maezawa visited a Tokyo bank to update his bank book, which showed a new balance of around 100 billion yen (701.5 million pounds). "It's nerve-wracking!" Maezawa said as he entered the branch.

  • SoftBank-backed Ola targets IPO process by March-end 2021, cut staff by up to 5% - sources
    Reuters

    SoftBank-backed Ola targets IPO process by March-end 2021, cut staff by up to 5% - sources

    Indian ride-hailing firm Ola, backed by Japan's SoftBank Group Corp , aims to begin the IPO process by the end of March 2021 and plans to cut its workforce by up to 5% as part of preparations, said people with direct knowledge of the matter. The news comes as tech investor SoftBank smarts from the abandoned share sale of major portfolio firm WeWork, as well as its first quarterly loss in 14 years after an $8.9 billion hit to its Vision Fund, through which it is Ola's top stakeholder. Ola, officially ANI Technologies Pvt Ltd, is India's home-grown rival to U.S. peer and fellow SoftBank portfolio firm Uber Technologies Inc .

  • Latin America roundup: Neobanks raise $205M+; Softbank backs VTEX
    TechCrunch

    Latin America roundup: Neobanks raise $205M+; Softbank backs VTEX

    Argentina’s Ualá became the most recent Latin American fintech to receive a growth-stage funding ($150 million) from Asian investors, Tencent and Softbank. Tencent also invested $180M in Brazil’s leading neobank, Nubank in 2018.

  • Blackstone says Unizo has not agreed to its $1.6 billion takeover offer
    Reuters

    Blackstone says Unizo has not agreed to its $1.6 billion takeover offer

    Blackstone Group Inc said on Thursday it has been unable to obtain an agreement from Japanese hotel operator Unizo Holdings Co Ltd for its $1.6 billion takeover bid proposal. Blackstone last month offered to buy the company at 5,000 yen a share, which valued the hotel chain at 171 billion yen (£1.2 billion). It also warned the company that it would take any measures if Unizo fails to respond to Blackstone's offer by a deadline that it keeps extending.

  • SoftBank's Appier Raises Fund for AI Marketing Platform
    Zacks

    SoftBank's Appier Raises Fund for AI Marketing Platform

    SoftBank's (SFTBY) Appier aims to revolutionize the way enterprises adopt artificial intelligence to remain competitive and manage business transformation.

  • After WeWork, SoftBank’s Startup Bookkeeping Draws Scrutiny
    Bloomberg

    After WeWork, SoftBank’s Startup Bookkeeping Draws Scrutiny

    (Bloomberg) -- In early 2018, the founders of Chinese artificial intelligence startup SenseTime Group Ltd. flew to Tokyo to see billionaire investor Masayoshi Son. As they entered the offices, Chief Executive Officer Xu Li was hoping to persuade the head of SoftBank Group to invest $200 million in his three-year-old startup.A third of the way into the presentation, Son interrupted to say he wanted to put in $1 billion. A few minutes later, Son suggested $2 billion. Turning to the roomful of SoftBank managers, Son said this was the kind of AI company he’d been looking for. “Why are you only telling me about them now?” he asked, according to one person in the room.In the end, SoftBank invested $1.2 billion, helping to transform SenseTime into the world’s most valuable AI startup. The young company’s valuation hit $7.5 billion this year.That investment model is now under fire after Son, 62, boosted the equity in office-sharing startup WeWork only to see it plummet as investors balked at enormous losses and troublesome governance. Indeed, SoftBank has participated, along with other investors, in scores of fundraisings that have added a total of more than $150 billion to the value of private companies, according to Bloomberg calculations. Among its deals are the world’s top two startups—ByteDance Inc. valued at $75 billion and Didi Chuxing Inc. at about $56 billion. In some cases, SoftBank’s involvement in multiple funding rounds helped drive up valuations that resulted in paper profits for Son’s company. The WeWork fiasco raises questions about such numbers. The co-working startup’s valuation crested at $47 billion this year with SoftBank’s investment, then plummeted to $7.8 billion in a bailout engineered by Son. WeWork is slashing jobs and scaling back operations.“WeWork is not just a mistake, it is a signal of weakness in the whole model,” said Aswath Damodaran, a professor of finance at New York University’s Stern School of Business, who has written four books on valuing businesses. “If you screwed up that valuation so badly, what about all of the other companies in your portfolio?”SoftBank said WeWork is an exception rather than a symptom of broader problems, and it has learned from the experience.Since unveiling his $100 billion Vision Fund in 2016, Son has become the most active tech investor on the planet, pouring money into more than 80 companies. That helped create a bumper crop of unicorns, more than 300 startups priced at $1 billion or greater, according to the research firm CB Insights.What’s not as well understood is the incentive Son has to keep valuations rising. When SoftBank buys shares in a startup and then invests again at a higher valuation, Son says he has made a profit. That is legal under accounting standards, but SoftBank receives no money. The only change is that SoftBank has boosted the value of its original stake from, say, $1 billion to $2 billion by raising the value of the startup. In SoftBank’s income statements and return calculations, at least some of the additional $1 billion can be counted as profit.“My brain and my heart, almost everything about myself is focusing on Vision Fund”“They pump up valuations to get higher returns to look good to investors,” says Eric Schiffer, chief executive officer of Patriarch Organization, a Los Angeles-based private equity fund. “That kind of fundraising apparatus is essentially unicorn porn.”SoftBank said its accounting complies with all standards and is consistent with widely accepted practices. As for startup valuations, it said it is not determining them on its own and invests with experienced firms such as Sequoia Capital and Temasek Holdings Pte. “Our valuations have been validated by more than 120 sophisticated investors who’ve invested alongside and after us,” Navneet Govil, chief financial officer of SB Investment Advisers, the entity that manages the Vision Fund, said in a statement. SoftBank said it has a rigorous internal process for setting valuations, and it books profit on any increase in valuation only after taking into account future cash flows and public market proxies, as well as private market funding prices. SoftBank’s auditors at Deloitte & Touche check those calculations, and the Vision Fund’s limited partners have their own auditors, including staff from Duff & Phelps and Ernst & Young, who vet the final figures. “Our valuation process is robust and reviewed quarterly by independent auditors,” Govil said. “We believe our performance is strong. In just two and a half years, Vision Fund 1 has already had seven IPOs, $4.7 billion of realized gains, $11.4 billion in cumulative investment gains and returned $9.9 billion to our limited partners.”Today’s accounting rules may be ill-suited to an era of unprecedented speculation on unicorns. Under the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) that SoftBank uses, companies have wide latitude to determine how much they think portfolio companies are worth—and therefore how much profit they report to investors. It’s unclear whether any company has tried to determine paper profits for tech startups on the scale SoftBank is now using. “I don't believe we’ve ever seen an attempt to record this magnitude of income with respect to unquoted equity investments,” said Robert Willens, a tax expert in New York.Son’s bookkeeping has allowed him to claim his average internal rate of return far outpaces those of other investors. This month, as SoftBank took a hit from WeWork, Son defended his investment approach. “There are 5,000 venture capitals globally and average IRR is 13%,” he said. “Our return is about twice as big as this.” Son’s confidence in his own acumen led to the creation of the Vision Fund in 2017, which at the time was more than 10 times the size of any venture capital fund. He was seeking to repeat the success of his most celebrated investment—a $20 million bet on China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. that turned into stock now worth more than $120 billion.With Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman backing the Vision Fund, Son began a blitzkrieg of deals in 2017. He invested more than $35 billion across about 100 companies, according to research firm Preqin. Among the biggest were multi-billion-dollar fundings of WeWork and Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hailing giant modeled after Uber Technologies Inc. In December, a SoftBank-led group invested $9 billion in Uber, including buying stock from existing shareholders.SoftBank began including financial results for the Vision Fund during the fiscal year that ended in March 2018. Total operating profit including a related Delta Fund was 303 billion yen, or less than $3 billion. That surged to 1.26 trillion yen the following year, making it the most profitable unit at Son’s company and accounting for more than half the parent company’s operating income. With Son’s energy directed at startups, SoftBank spun off the domestic telecom business that had made it famous and generated cash for his early investments.“My brain and my heart, almost everything about myself is focusing on Vision Fund,” Son told investors in May.But the profits SoftBank booked were mostly on paper. In the first fiscal year, unrealized gains on investment valuations accounted for essentially all the stated income for the Vision and Delta funds. In the most recent fiscal year, unrealized gains on valuations amounted to 1 trillion yen, while realized gains—like the sale of India e-commerce giant Flipkart to Walmart Inc.—totaled less than 300 billion yen.WeWork underscores the risks of that approach. SoftBank first took a stake in August 2017 at a valuation of $21 billion. It then invested another $3 billion in November 2018 at a $45 billion valuation and later agreed to a $1.5 billion warrant at $47 billion. As Son reported results this May, he highlighted WeWork as an example of portfolio companies heading for IPOs. When the deal fell apart, SoftBank took a 498 billion yen hit.SoftBank Vision Fund said it never took profits from WeWork by marking it all the way up to $47 billion. It kept the shares on its books at about half that price. It still had to take that down by about 75%, which led to the loss.Venture capital and private equity firms are mostly private so they don’t need to report quarterly profits to public shareholders, and their limited partners are typically focused on returns when portfolio companies cash out through IPOs or acquisitions. SoftBank doesn’t reveal specific valuation changes for each of its portfolio companies in a quarter, typically only naming a few winners or losers. Investors putting money in alongside SoftBank are at times affiliates, like Grab, Didi and Alibaba.“If I’m an investor, I want to know how they are coming up with these numbers. Otherwise, you can’t believe any of the valuations,” said NYU’s Damodaran. “The more they talk about accountants the less I would trust the numbers.”SoftBank concluded that under IFRS rules the Vision Fund must count valuation changes as income because its primary business is investing, and SoftBank Group must incorporate that income in its books because the Vision Fund is a consolidated subsidiary. One person close to the company said the resulting profit figures are almost meaningless, but there is no better accounting method given the current rules. “I’m not an accountant or a lawyer, but presenting this as income doesn’t make any sense,” said Ilya Strebulaev, a professor of finance at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business whose research suggests the latest, post-money valuations typically overvalue startups by about 50%.Adding to the complexity is that startup stakes are sometimes transferred between SoftBank Group and the Vision Fund, which have different shareholders. The price at which those assets are shifted has implications for profits on either side.After WeWork, other deals are coming under scrutiny. SoftBank invested in Didi Chuxing in 2015 with the Chinese company’s valuation at about $6 billion. It then put more money in about once a year as Didi’s valuation climbed to $56 billion.But Didi has run into trouble since the fundraising two years ago. Chinese regulators have cracked down on ride-hailing services for drawing migrant workers into big cities and hurting taxi drivers’ incomes. Two passengers were killed after using its car-pooling service, prompting a government suspension. In addition, investors have grown skeptical about ride-hailing after the roughly 35% slump in Uber’s shares since its May IPO.Uber’s drop means SoftBank should probably mark down Didi by at least the same margin, said one person who has worked on deals with SoftBank. The Japanese company would also have to look at its investments in other ride-sharing companies such as Grab Holdings Inc. in Southeast Asia, the person said. Didi declined to comment. A Grab spokeswoman said there has been no change in its valuation and it has diversified beyond ride-hailing.SoftBank took a loss in its most recent earnings report on its Uber stake, but made no mention of the other ride-hailing firms in its portfolio. It did cut the estimated value of its stakes in Didi and other ride-hailing services in the most recent quarter, according to one person close to the company. SoftBank said it can’t disclose the loss or gain on every portfolio company each quarter.SoftBank said Didi is an example of how it is not responsible for propelling startup valuations because Silicon Valley’s Silver Lake Management invested alongside SoftBank at the same price. Toyota Motor Corp. and Booking Holdings Inc. then bought shares at a higher valuation.In the U.S., food-delivery firm Doordash Inc. struggled to distinguish itself from rivals and hadn’t hit the $1 billion unicorn mark until SoftBank invested in the company last year. Then in just over a year, Doordash’s valuation went from $1.4 billion to $12.6 billion this May. When SoftBank reported earnings the next quarter, it highlighted Doordash as one of the main contributors to its operating income. Perhaps SoftBank’s most controversial deal after WeWork is an Indian startup called Oyo that was founded six years ago by teenager Ritesh Agarwal. It aimed to bring reliable quality to the country’s chaotic lodging industry. Oyo staff help hoteliers upgrade everything from furniture to bedding and toiletries and the hotel or guest house gets a bright red Oyo sign as a seal of approval, encouraging travelers to book. Oyo takes a cut of roughly 25%.While SoftBank backed Oyo from its early days, some people close to the company worry that Son’s relationship with Agarwal is similar to his ties to WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann and that he may be making similar mistakes. The Vision Fund put $250 million into Oyo in 2017 and led a $1 billion funding round last year, which pushed the Indian company’s valuation to $5 billion. Son encouraged Agarwal to expand into markets such as China and the U.S. and to buy properties, including the Hooters Casino in Las Vegas for $135 million.Stephen Givens, an M&A lawyer in Tokyo, argues that Oyo’s business model resembles WeWork’s, a tech-inflected real estate business that has expanded far beyond its initial concept. “Oyo made sense in a place like India,” he said. “But moving into the U.S. and buying real estate is a big risk.”Even as SoftBank ran into trouble with WeWork, it helped push up the valuation of Oyo with an unusual funding round. In October, the Japanese company and Agarwal together chipped in, raising the valuation to $10 billion. SoftBank touted the startup as a bright spot when it took the writedown for WeWork, booking a valuation gain of 590 billion yen on 25 investments, of which Oyo was the only one named.“My brain and my heart, almost everything about myself is focusing on Vision Fund”Yet it turned out that Agarwal, now 26, had borrowed $2 billion to finance his share of the purchase from financial institutions, including Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group Inc., people familiar with the matter have said. Son himself personally guaranteed the loans to Agarwal, according to another person familiar with the matter. Mizuho declined to comment.In addition, two earlier investors in Oyo were Didi and Grab, the ride-hailing companies backed by SoftBank. That raises the question of whether money used to boost their valuations was then reused to hike the value of another SoftBank investment.SoftBank did not disclose Son’s personal role in the deal or the bank loans to Agarwal. Ultimately, the Vision Fund decided it wouldn’t mark up its Oyo stock to the $10 billion valuation because the latest funding did not include independent investors.In a statement, Oyo said it is grateful for the support of investors including the Vision Fund. “We are a well-run company with a healthy balance sheet and a strong focus on business economics, and the same can be seen in the continued momentum we’ve seen in reducing our net losses,” it said. “We have great business relationships with both Didi and Grab since late 2017 and early 2018 when the fundraising had not happened.”Analysts trying to make sense of SoftBank’s valuations have been frustrated by what they view as a lack of transparency in such cases. SoftBank doesn’t discuss in detail the standards by which it values a particular startup or accounts for such gains as profit on its income statement. “SoftBank has offered little visibility into how they value their investments,” says Jefferies Group senior analyst Atul Goyal.Masafumi Takeno represented Japan on the IFRS Foundation committee that developed materials explaining how to use valuation guidelines. He said companies have broad discretion to determine asset values and disclosures. “The rules are pretty loose and permissive,” he said.For years, Son has expressed frustration that investors don’t see the value of his business. In presentations, he will often focus in on how SoftBank’s market capitalization is below the value of its assets, including publicly traded stocks like Alibaba. In February, he opened an event with a slide that showed: “25 – 4 = 9?” The point he was making is that SoftBank held assets worth 25 trillion yen—including a 12.5 billion yen stake in Alibaba—and had only 4 trillion yen in debt. Yet investors bestowed a value of 9 trillion yen on SoftBank, a discount of more than 60%. “It’s just beginner math,” Son said. “This is too cheap.”The SoftBank discount narrowed after that presentation with the help of a stock buyback and the impending IPOs for companies like Uber. On its website, Son’s company ran daily calculations of assets minus debt to show what the share price should be. But with the WeWork implosion, SoftBank’s market cap has dropped back below 9 trillion yen and the discount has widened again to more than 60%. The stock has dropped 30% since its April peak, though it’s still up 15% for the year. Shares reversed morning gains on Tuesday and dropped almost 1%.“Markets are telegraphing that the trust is gone,” said NYU’s Damodaran. “Masa needs to rebuild that.” (Updates with share price in penultimate paragraph)\--With assistance from Lulu Chen, Saritha Rai, Yoolim Lee and Takahiko Hyuga.To contact the authors of this story: Peter Elstrom in Tokyo at pelstrom@bloomberg.netPavel Alpeyev in Tokyo at palpeyev@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Adam Majendie at adammajendie@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • SoftBank-Backed AI Startup Appier Raises $80 Million
    Bloomberg

    SoftBank-Backed AI Startup Appier Raises $80 Million

    (Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Group Corp.-backed customer analytics startup Appier Inc. has raised $80 million from investors including private equity firm TGVest Capital to expand globally and into new industries beyond digital marketing.The artificial intelligence outfit from Taiwan also counts Hopu-Arm Innovation Fund, a venture between Hopu Investment Management Co. and Arm Holdings Inc.; Temasek Holdings Pte’s Pavilion Capital; Insignia Ventures; Jafco Investment and UMC Capital Corp. in its latest funding round, according to a statement Tuesday.Appier’s products help retailers retain customers and advertisers understand and capitalize on consumer tendencies, predicting user behavior using its AI platform. It serves more than 1,000 companies, according to the statement.Founded in Taipei in 2012, Appier now has more than 400 employees across 12 markets. It has raised $162 million in funding to date from investors including Sequoia Capital, SoftBank and Line Corp.To contact the reporter on this story: Yoolim Lee in Singapore at yoolim@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at echan273@bloomberg.net, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Argentine fintech Ualá raises $150M led by Tencent and SoftBank
    TechCrunch

    Argentine fintech Ualá raises $150M led by Tencent and SoftBank

    Ualá, an Argentine personal finance management app, has raised a $150 million Series C led by Tencent and SoftBank's Latin America-focused Innovation Fund. Ualá is a mobile banking app and lending platform with services similar to Revolut, Monzo and Nubank. Founder and CEO Pierpaolo Barbieri, a Buenos Aires native and Harvard University graduate, says his ambition was to create a platform that would bring all financial services into one app linked to one card.

  • Bloomberg

    SoftBank Launches $3 Billion Tender Offer for WeWork Shares

    (Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Group Corp. launched a long-awaited $3 billion tender offer for WeWork stock, according to people with knowledge of the matter.The offer expires April 1, said one of the people, who requested anonymity because the matter is private. Representatives for SoftBank and WeWork declined to comment.WeWork parent We Co. agreed to the tender offer from the Japanese conglomerate last month, one element of a $9.5 billion rescue package for the ailing office-sharing company. As part of SoftBank’s proposal to buy existing shares, WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann is entitled to sell as much as $970 million worth of his stock.The bailout package -- which also included millions of dollars in other payouts for Neumann as he exited the company -- came as WeWork teetered on the brink of insolvency. The favorable terms for Neumann angered some employees, many of whom are facing job cuts as the company turns its focus to profitability. Last week, WeWork said layoffs would affect 2,400 employees around the world, or almost 20% of its workforce.Executives at SoftBank had been discussing a way to alter or shrink its offer, though it was unclear how they would renege on the agreement, Bloomberg reported last week. The tender offer launch is about three weeks behind its targeted kick-off, which was five business days after an accelerated $1.5 billion equity injection on Oct. 30.Besides the new equity injection and the tender offer, SoftBank’s rescue package also includes about $5 billion in new debt financing. If the tender offer is completed to capacity, it will hand SoftBank almost 80% of WeWork, which is now valued at about $8 billion.Any repriced stock options for current and recently fired employees won’t be eligible for the tender offer, a person with knowledge of the matter said last week.To contact the reporters on this story: Gillian Tan in New York at gtan129@bloomberg.net;Giles Turner in London at gturner35@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at mmilian@bloomberg.net, Molly Schuetz, Robin AjelloFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • RPT-SoftBank to go ahead with WeWork stock tender offer this week
    Reuters

    RPT-SoftBank to go ahead with WeWork stock tender offer this week

    NEW YORK/BANGALORE, Nov 24 (Reuters) - SoftBank Group Corp will this week launch a previously agreed tender offer for as much as $3 billion of WeWork shares, including up to $970 million owned by the office sharing company's cofounder Adam Neumann, two people familiar with the matter said. The tender offer to the founders, investors and employees owning stock was expected to launch earlier this month but was delayed after SoftBank sought technical revisions to the offer documents, according to the sources. Last Thursday, Bloomberg reported that executives at SoftBank, the giant Japanese technology investment company, had been looking for a way to reduce the size of the offer, including limiting the amount paid to Neumann.

  • SoftBank's Oyo reveals over $330 million annual loss; revenue surges - valuation report
    Reuters

    SoftBank's Oyo reveals over $330 million annual loss; revenue surges - valuation report

    SoftBank-backed Oyo Hotels and Homes' losses ballooned sixfold in the year to March, while its revenue more than quadrupled, a valuation report filed by the India-based hotel chain with local regulators showed on Monday. The losses highlight a period of rapid expansion by Oyo into markets such as China, the United States and the United Kingdom, which has made the six-year-old startup one of the world's biggest hotel chains by room count. Oyo reported a net loss of 23.85 billion rupees ($332 million) in the year to March 2019, compared with a loss of 3.6 billion rupees a year earlier, according to the report filed with India's ministry of corporate affairs.

  • Bloomberg

    SoftBank Said to Go Ahead With WeWork Stock Tender Offer:Reuters

    (Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Group will this week begin a previously agreed tender offer for as much as $3 billion of WeWork shares, including up to $970 million owned by WeWork cofounder Adam Neumann, two people familiar with the matter said.Tender offer will go ahead based on the previously announced terms of $19.19 per WeWork share as soon as MondayNo talks between SoftBank and WeWork about changing terms of the offer, which may have opened up SoftBank to lawsuits from Neumann and others, after company executives sought a way to reduce the size of the offer, including limiting the amount paid to Neumann, the people saidTo view the source of this information click hereTo contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Kostic in New York at akostic@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Edith Moy at echan10@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • SoftBank to go ahead with WeWork stock tender offer this week
    Reuters

    SoftBank to go ahead with WeWork stock tender offer this week

    NEW YORK/BANGALORE (Reuters) - SoftBank Group Corp will this week launch a previously agreed tender offer for as much as $3 billion of WeWork shares, including up to $970 million owned by the office sharing company's cofounder Adam Neumann, two people familiar with the matter said. The tender offer to the founders, investors and employees owning stock was expected to launch earlier this month but was delayed after SoftBank sought technical revisions to the offer documents, according to the sources. Last Thursday, Bloomberg reported that executives at SoftBank, the giant Japanese technology investment company, had been looking for a way to reduce the size of the offer, including limiting the amount paid to Neumann.

  • Japanese hotel group Unizo gets six new buyout offers
    Reuters

    Japanese hotel group Unizo gets six new buyout offers

    Japanese hotel operator Unizo Holdings said on Sunday it had received six more buyout offers at a price competitive with an existing $1.6 billion bid proposed by Blackstone Group . Unizo said it had received offers from four overseas investment funds and one Japanese fund as well as one domestic company, without naming the bidders. Unizo said none of the offers would meet its demands.

  • WeWork Is Working on Plan to Reprice Stock Options
    Bloomberg

    WeWork Is Working on Plan to Reprice Stock Options

    (Bloomberg) -- WeWork is working on a plan to reprice stock options held by employees, including those who have left, Executive Chairman Marcelo Claure told its staff on Friday.The office-sharing giant plans to set a new strike price of $4.12 for stock options held by employees who have departed or are leaving as part of a sweeping round of 2,400 layoffs, said people familiar with the matter. It will also apply to current employees, said the people, who requested anonymity because the matter is private.The move would allow workers, whose shares have lost value, to still make potential future gains on their equity holdings.The company will “provide all employees, as well as those who recently left us as part of the restructuring, with the opportunity to participate in an exchange offer that allows for the repricing of options at our new fair market value,” WeWork said in a statement.Executives at SoftBank Group Corp. are looking for a way to reduce the size of a $3 billion offer for WeWork stock as part of its rescue package, but it’s unclear how it would renege on this, Bloomberg has reported. Many WeWork employees have strike prices for their stock that are above the $19.19 that SoftBank will pay as part of that offer.WeWork Appoints New Executives as Part of Five-Year Plan Any stock purchased via the exchange offer will not be eligible to be tendered in the Softbank offer in part because of the onerous tax burden it would create, a person familiar with the matter said.To contact the reporter on this story: Gillian Tan in New York at gtan129@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net, ;Alan Goldstein at agoldstein5@bloomberg.net, Linus Chua, Shamim AdamFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    SoftBank Execs Discuss Trimming WeWork Offer and Adam Neumann Payout

    (Bloomberg) -- Executives at SoftBank are looking for a way to reduce the size of a $3 billion offer for WeWork stock as part of its rescue package, as the office-sharing behemoth makes wide-ranging cuts to staff.The discussions at SoftBank center around shrinking a $3 billion tender offer for WeWork shares owned by founders, employees and investors, according to people with knowledge of the talks. Such a move would be designed, at least in part, to limit the amount paid to co-founder Adam Neumann, said the people, who requested anonymity because the matter is private.It’s unclear how SoftBank could renege on its agreement with WeWork investors and crucially, with Neumann. Any effort to re-draw terms could result in a legal battle, one person said. As part of the deal, Neumann has the ability to sell $970 million worth of WeWork stock to SoftBank.In recent internal discussions at SoftBank, some executives have said the payout to Neumann is too generous, the people with knowledge of the talks said. It may be a case of buyer’s remorse after WeWork employees expressed outrage over the favorable deal given to Neumann while the business was in turmoil. Representatives for Neumann, SoftBank and WeWork declined to comment.Last month, the struggling WeWork parent company We Co. secured a $9.5 billion rescue package from SoftBank, an agreement that would hand about 80% of the company to the Japanese conglomerate. The deal includes $5 billion in new financing, the acceleration of a $1.5 billion existing commitment and the tender offer of as much as $3 billion.Neumann left the company’s board as part of the rescue package and was replaced by SoftBank executive and newly appointed Chairman Marcelo Claure. The size of Neumann’s payout, which also included millions in consulting fees, has incensed some WeWork employees, who are facing job cuts this week.To be sure, no decision has been made and SoftBank may choose to fulfill the $3 billion tender offer in its entirety. The Japanese conglomerate is in talks to receive as much as 300 billion yen ($2.8 billion) from Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc., people familiar with the matter said this week. The Nikkei newspaper, which earlier reported on SoftBank’s financing talks with Japanese institutions, said the company was raising money to pay for the WeWork tender offer.At a recent briefing in Tokyo, SoftBank billionaire founder Masayoshi Son acknowledged that this month’s financial results were “a mess” and that overvaluing WeWork was a judgment error. Son said that he had consulted with lawyers to see if he could back out of a $1.5 billion warrant SoftBank had pledged to WeWork, but they said he couldn’t. Instead, Son decided to buy even more shares at a discounted price, lowering the average cost of SoftBank’s equity in the business.To contact the reporters on this story: Giles Turner in London at gturner35@bloomberg.net;Gillian Tan in New York at gtan129@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net, Anne VanderMey, Mark MilianFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • SoftBank's Bookkeeping Under Fire After WeWork
    Bloomberg

    SoftBank's Bookkeeping Under Fire After WeWork

    Nov.26 -- SoftBank's investment model is now under fire after Masayoshi Son boosted the equity in office-sharing startup WeWork only to see it plummet as investors balked at enormous losses and troublesome governance. Bloomberg's Sarah McBride has more on "Bloomberg Markets."

  • WeWork lays off 2,400 in global revamp
    Reuters Videos

    WeWork lays off 2,400 in global revamp

    Pink slips are going out at WeWork Thursday as the company tries to revamp after a disastrous IPO that had to be pulled. The office-sharing company announced it is letting go of 2,400 employees around the world. The job cuts are just the latest sign of how far from grace this former Silicon Valley darling has fallen. Its CEO was forced out and major investor Softbank had to step in with a $9.5 billion lifeline to stave off a further declines in its investment. The trouble all began on the road to a market debut when investors questioned the firm's corporate governance, business model and mounting losses. All the scrutiny made it hard to get the IPO off the ground - a stunning reversal for a company that was given a $47 billion valuation in January. The layoffs announced Thursday are the biggest step yet by Softbank to make sure WeWork refocuses its energy on the core business of office sharing and turning a profit.