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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.

1 hour ago - Podcasts

Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes on the Senate runoffs

The future of U.S. politics, and all that flows from it, is in the hands of Georgia voters when they vote in two Senate runoffs on January 5.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the election dynamics with former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat who served between 1999 and 2003.

1 hour ago - Health

Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as COVID capacity dwindles

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that struggling state hospital systems must transfer patients to sites that are not nearing capacity, as rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations strain medical resources.

Why it matters: New York does not expect to get the same kind of help from thousands of out-of-state doctors and nurses that it got this spring, Cuomo acknowledged, as most of the country battles skyrocketing COVID hospitalizations and infections.

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