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SoftBank records $6.5bn losses following bad investments

By Charlotte Ricca

As WeWork and Uber shares tumble, SoftBank takes a massive hit to profits

SoftBank Group has recorded its first quarterly operating loss in 14 years, blaming its investment in WeWork.

The company, run by Masayoshi Son, made an operating loss of $6.5bn (£5bn, €5.8bn) in the three months to the end of September, according to its financial report. This is far worse than the $442m predicted by analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv.

The news comes after SoftBank’s venture capital fund, the $100 billion Vision Fund, posted a loss of 970bn yen ($8.9bn, £6.9bn, €8bn) during the July-September quarter.

The losses wiped out what would have otherwise been a profitable quarter for SoftBank.

The investment bank said its operating loss was due to the “decrease in the fair values of investments including Uber and WeWork and its three affiliates”.

SoftBank poured around $7.65 billion into Uber in early 2018. Uber shares fell to a new low on Tuesday after the company reported $1.16bn losses during the third quarter.

Vision Fund spent more than $10 billion to bail out WeWork after its failed IPO attempt. Son admitted his investment judgement was “poor in many ways”, as the company’s misfortunes go from bad to worse, with former CEO Adam Neumann facing charges over pregnancy discrimination.

SoftBank wrote down the value of its investment in WeWork by $3.4 billion in the second quarter. This loss is expected to increase to $4.6 billion in the current fiscal year.

The losses bring into question Son’s ability to make sound future investments.

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