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Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde. Photo via Yoshikazu Tsuno/Getty Images

SoftBank’s second Vision Fund “is going to be launched as scheduled” and be roughly the same size as the first, chairman Masayoshi Son said on Wednesday during the Japanese conglomerate’s quarterly earnings, although he declined to share more details.

Why it matters: That’s in spite of the storm of challenges it’s currently weathering, including rumored fundraising woes and its biggest problem child, WeWork.

And speaking of WeWork…. Son’s story is that we’ve all been thinking about this cash lifeline wrong: Because $1.5 billion was already promised for April 2020 (along with $8 billion in a tender and debt), SoftBank is just giving WeWork the money six months earlier, and at a tenth of the cost per share. It’s really a great deal, he argued!

  • Nevertheless, SoftBank Group posted a $6.5 billion loss for the quarter — its first in 14 years. Of that, $4.6 billion was tied to WeWork (much of the rest was from Uber). The Vision Fund posted an $8.9 billion operating loss, though it’s still in the black, for now.
  • Son admitted that he made some poor judgments when it came to assessing WeWork as an investment, including in giving it a valuation of $47 billion.
  • But he also took several opportunities to blame WeWork co-founder and ex-CEO Adam Neumann for the various troubles, given his outsized control over the company and its board.

Yes, but: SoftBank had two seats on WeWork’s board and has been involved since 2017 — so it’s hard to believe that SoftBank was as blindsided as Son wants us to believe. Likely more accurate is Son’s admission that, in many cases, he "turned a blind eye, especially when it comes to governance.”

Go deeper: The complicated future of SoftBank Vision Fund

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.

Updated 9 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.