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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Someone should tell SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son he could use encrypted apps like Signal and Telegram when communicating with his lieutenants.

Driving the news: Former WeWork CEO Adam Neumann won a Delaware court motion to remove redactions on select text messages between Son and Marcelo Claure, the SoftBank COO and WeWork executive chairman, as part of his lawsuit against SoftBank for bailing on its $3 billion tender offer for WeWork shares.

  • The vast majority of tender proceeds would have gone to Neumann and WeWork investor Benchmark, which also is suing SoftBank.

The most explosive message was related to SoftBank's desire to delay the $3 billion payable in the tender by one month, which SoftBank had blamed on regulatory approval delays.

  • Son texted Claure: "It’s great to postpone the close of tender... Use whatever excuse to make senses [sic]."
  • Claure replied: "Ok. Will use antitrust. I am turning good at excuses like someone I know very well :)"

Another series of communication relates to WeWork's planned consolidation of its joint venture in China.

  • SoftBank had claimed that WeWork's inability to close that transaction was one of the reasons it didn't complete the tender.
  • But, the documents suggest that SoftBank was okay scuttling that deal because it instead devised a way to "gobble up" part of the $3 billion tender, thus making it economically whole on China.

Neumann's lawyers also continue to request 17,000 pages of additional "withheld documents."

What SoftBank spox is saying: “Cherry-picking quotes from documents doesn’t change the facts: under the terms of our agreement, SoftBank had no obligation to complete the tender offer in which Mr. Neumann — the biggest beneficiary —  sought to sell nearly $1 billion in stock.”

What Neumann spox is saying: No comment.

The bottom line: SoftBank may win the legal argument that it was allowed to bail on the tender for any reason it wanted, and no one is crying for Neumann. But these new disclosures seem to reflect intentional deception, which could cost SoftBank future business.

Go deeper

SoftBank says it's back

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

SoftBank Vision Fund posted a nearly $18 billion operating loss for the fiscal year ended in March, and wrote down about 75% of its WeWork investment — but who cares if it managed overall gains of $9.6 billion, right? At least, that's the message SoftBank execs are expected to deliver to investors later today in a briefing focused on the two Vision Funds, according to a source familiar with the fund.

Why it matters: SoftBank famously raised about $100 billion in 2017 to back big tech unicorns, but disappointing bets like WeWork and Brandless raised questions about Vision Fund's, well, vision.

Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Here come Earmarks 2.0

DeLauro at a hearing in May 2020. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Appropriations Committee is preparing to restore a limited version of earmarks, which give lawmakers power to direct spending to their districts to pay for special projects.

Why it matters: A series of scandals involving members in both parties prompted a moratorium on earmarks in 2011. But Democrats argue it's worth the risk to bring them back because earmarks would increase their leverage to pass critical legislation with a narrow majority, especially infrastructure and spending bills.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
54 mins ago - Energy & Environment

UN says Paris carbon-cutting plans fall far short

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Nations' formal emissions-cutting pledges are collectively way too weak to put the world on track to meet the Paris climate deal's temperature-limiting target, a United Nations tally shows.

Driving the news: This morning the UN released an analysis of the most recent nationally determined contributions (NDCs) — that is, countries' medium-term emissions targets submitted under the 2015 pact.

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