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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

1 hour ago - Health

Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in U.K.

Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson. Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

A new national lockdown will be imposed in the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 1 million.

Details: Starting Thursday, people in England must stay at home, and bars and restaurants will close, except for takeout and deliveries. All non-essential retail will also be shuttered. Different households will be banned from mixing indoors. International travel, unless for business purposes, will be banned. The new measures will last through at least December 2.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The massive early vote

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Early voting in the 2020 election across the U.S. on Saturday had already reached 65.5% of 2016's total turnout, according to state data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat.
  2. World: Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike — Austria reimposes coronavirus lockdowns amid surge of infections
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  5. States: New York rolls out new testing requirements for visitors.