May 18, 2020 - Economy & Business

SoftBank Vision Fund lost $18 billion in the last year

SoftBank Group Chairman Masayoshi Son, February 12, 2020. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

SoftBank Vision Fund posted a nearly $18 billion operating loss for the fiscal year ended on March 31, with almost $10 billion related to WeWork and Uber.

By the numbers: SoftBank Chairman Masayoshi Son said during an earnings presentation that, while he expects about 15 of the Vision Fund's 88 companies to go bankrupt, another 15 will be successful and make up for the failures and otherwise lackluster portfolio performance.

  • Son also said that SoftBank will not rescue companies that go bankrupt, though he noted that most of the fund's embattled investments are smaller companies.
  • He also expressed optimism for WeWork: "After the end of this coronavirus situation — do you want to have a 20-year lease on an office? Maybe that's not the situation after coronavirus."
  • SoftBank now values WeWork at $2.9 billion as of March 31, down from $7.3 billion just a quarter earlier — and $47 billion at its peak.

As for a second Vision Fund, Son reiterated that the company will continue to invest its own money and hold off on bringing on outside investors.

  • "Because the performance of Vision Fund 1 is not that great, therefore we decided not to do the marketing for Vision Fund 2 for the partners for a while," he said.
  • "However, having said that ... we may be able to see the companies that can boost our performance gradually. So once we see the better performance in Vision Fund 1 we may be able to have some offers from the people other than us to participate in Vision Fund 2."

The big picture: Earlier in the day, the company announced it plans to buy back as much as $4.7 billion of stock and that Alibaba founder Jack Ma is resigning from its board after 13 years.

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Updated 1 min ago - Politics & Policy

Mark Zuckerberg: Social networks should not be "the arbiter of truth"

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg argued on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Thursday that social media platforms should not police political speech, and that "people should be able to see what politicians say.”

Why it matters: Zuckerberg was responding to Twitter's decision this week to fact-check a pair of President Trump's tweets that claimed that mail-in ballots are "substantially fraudulent." Twitter's label, which directs users to "get the facts" about mail-in voting, does not censor Trump's tweets.

House Democrats pull FISA reauthorization bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

House Democrats pulled legislation Thursday that would have renewed expired domestic surveillance laws and strengthened transparency and privacy protections amid broad opposition from President Trump, House GOP leadership and progressive Democrats.

Why it matters: The failure to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) comes as Trump continues to attack the intelligence community, which he claims abused the law to surveil his 2016 campaign and Trump administration officials.