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SoftBank Just Took Massive $6.5B Bath Over WeWork, Uber

CEO Masayoshi Son: 'There was a problem with my own judgment' on WeWork, Uber investments
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2019 7:37 AM CST
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In this Nov. 4, 2014, file photo, SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son speaks during a news conference in Tokyo.   (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

(Newser) – SoftBank took a gamble on WeWork and Uber—and it just took a $6.5 billion quarterly operating loss, Bloomberg reports, its first in 14 years. The Japanese's firm's CEO is coming out of the situation both pensive and "defiant," per the New York Times. "There was a problem with my own judgment, that’s something I have to reflect on," Masayoshi Son said Wednesday, per Bloomberg, of the investment strategy to pump money into the ride-sharing and workspace-sharing ventures, the latter of which ran up $4.6 billion of the three months' worth of damage ending Sept. 30. CNBC calls it a "remarkable admission" from the 62-year-old "well known for his ebullience."

Son also had some harsh words for WeWork founder Adam Neumann. "I overestimated Adam's good side," while on "his negative side, in many cases, I turned a blind eye, especially when it comes to governance," Son said, per the Times. But the paper notes that Son then spent "more than 40 minutes" defending his push into WeWork, which Bloomberg notes got a $9.5 billion rescue package (Son refutes that label) last month from Son's firm, in addition to $10 billion SoftBank and its Vision Fund have already invested. "There is no storm, and things are under control," he said, per the AP. Vice calls the Vision Fund a "graveyard of broken tech startups," listing others besides WeWork and Uber, including the DoorDash food delivery service. (Read more SoftBank stories.)

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