Masayoshi Son ponders leading Japan’s SoftBank into his 70s

FILE PHOTO - SoftBank Corp. placard is prepared during a ceremony to mark the company's debut on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo, Japan, December 19, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

Big losses at SoftBank Group Corp. apparently haven’t fazed its founder Masayoshi Son. If anything, the 62-year old is speculating about staying at the helm of his conglomerate even longer than expected, into his 70s.

Officially, Son’s sticking to a pledge to hand over the reins of his company later in his 60s. But he did leave the door open to staying longer. Bond investors are hoping before then that Son learns lessons from the $4.6 billion writedown of WeWork that has shaken confidence in his investment acumen.

“When I become 69, there is the possibility I may have the feeling I would like to continue a little longer,” Son told investors on Wednesday, where he admitted some errors of judgment with regard to WeWork. “While in recent months there has been heightened criticism of my management, I am just so enthralled with running companies and have this great will to do so.”

Son was at pains to point out that SoftBank may not always pick winners and that is part of being in venture capital, but he and the Vision Fund still have a strong track record. It’s the scale and speed of the WeWork writedown, though, that have worried investors most, and they are hoping he abides by a promise to avoid similar large one-time investments and focus more on free cash flow.

Bloomberg

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.