Nov 5, 2019

As SoftBank readies its earnings, all eyes are on Vision Fund 2

SoftBank Group Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

SoftBank Group reports its earnings Wednesday, which is a bit like hosting a dinner party when your kids have the flu and your kitchen is being remodeled.

Between the lines: Pay most attention to fundraising progress, or lack thereof, for SoftBank's next Vision Fund. Pay less attention to portfolio markups/markdowns, outside of how it may affect potential LP sentiment.

The backdrop: SoftBank announced in July that it had $108 billion in commitments for Vision Fund 2 but, as we reported at the time, those weren't really commitments. They were non-binding memorandums of understanding.

There's an FT report that SoftBank will insist on stronger governance controls at portfolio companies, although that feels like a pretty empty threat.

  • Would SoftBank really deny follow-on funds to an existing investment in need, thus threatening existing value?
  • And given its demonstrated willingness to turn on a founding CEO, how would it sell this to prospective investees?
  • Maybe it's just a Saudi sales pitch.

The bottom line: Vision Fund is larger than all Silicon Valley venture capital funds put together, so the existence/disappearance of Vision Fund 2 will have an earthquake-like impact on the future funding environment.

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Michigan governor won't apologize for coronavirus lockdown

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer defended the strictness of her state's coronavirus lockdown in an interview with "Axios on HBO," saying it was necessary — despite the protests that have drawn national attention — because of how quickly the state's cases were rising.

The big picture: Whitmer, who has been a frequent target of President Trump, insisted that she had to act in the face of a lack of federal leadership — and that thousands more people in her state would have died without the lockdown.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has only one novel coronavirus patient in hospital and just 22 active cases in the country, top health official Ashley Bloomfield confirmed at a briefing. He's "confident we have broken the chain of domestic transmission," with no new cases reported for most of May, he added.

By the numbers: Brazil on Monday recorded for the first time more deaths from the novel coronavirus in a single day than the United States, Reuters notes. Brazil reported 807 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, compared to 620 in the U.S. for the same period.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 p.m. ET: 5,494,287 — Total deaths: 346,229 — Total recoveries — 2,31,722Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 p.m. ET: 1,662,302 — Total deaths: 98,218 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 58 mins ago - Politics & Policy