Son said in an interview that “When I look at the growth of American and Chinese companies, I feel strongly that it is not that good.”
SoftBank Group founder and CEO Masayoshi Son is “embarrassed and turned on” by his track record, he told Nikkei Business magazine, as the Japanese company is being pressured by some investors for its bets on losing businesses.
Son is spending most of his time on the group’s investment activities – focused on the $ 100 billion Vision Fund – leaving the day-to-day running of core businesses, such as telecommunications operator SoftBank Corp, to senior lieutenants.
SoftBank is trying to attract investment in a second mammoth fund, Reuters reported last week, with portfolio company WeWork pulling its IPO and valuations on other key investments fall.
Son touched on favorite topics in the interview, including Japan’s “extremely volatile” situation and its “edible” entrepreneurs – a Japanese phrase that makes a negative comparison with the more aggressive carnivores.
In contrast “there is a technological innovation in the US, China is growing mammoth and Southeast Asia is booming,” Son said.
Investors’ skepticism about the path to profitability of Vision Fund’s investments in startups losing money like Uber Technologies and Slack Technologies has led to a market sale, with SoftBank Group shares closing 30% off their July peak.
“Companies like WeWork and Uber have been criticized for being in the red, but in 10 years they will gain significant benefits,” Son said.
SoftBank and other investors led a revolt against WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann, who was criticized for his difficult partying ways and level of control over the company, culminating in him stepping down as CEO.
“I recently told the founders to ‘know your limit,'” Son said.
WeWork, in which SoftBank has shed more than $ 10 billion, is thinking of slowing its expansion to try to contain costs, sources told Reuters last month.
Another SoftBank-backed startup trying to bolster its finances, Oyo, India, is facing a swift response from hotel owners who complain they are armored by rising tariffs.
SoftBank’s performance is increasingly tied to the fate of these untested startups, with the company likely to report strange investment properties for many investments for the quarter ended in September.
“I include myself when I say that it is not the time for Japanese entrepreneurs to make excuses,” Son said./Investing.com