SoftBank loses $16b in market value as Uber’s shares sink

FILE PHOTO: SoftBank Group Corp Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son attends a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

In the months leading up to Uber Technologies Inc.’s market debut, Masayoshi Son made a habit of pointing out that SoftBank Group Corp. is the world’s largest investor in ride-hailing companies. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem like such an enviable position.

SoftBank has lost about $16 billion in market value in the past three trading days as Uber plunged nearly 20% below its IPO price. On Tuesday, the Tokyo-based company’s shares fell as much as 6.4%, the biggest intraday decline since Dec. 25. The overall market was also down, with the Nikkei 225 Average retreating 1.8 percent amid escalating U.S.-China trade tensions.

Just two months ago, Son told the audience at the Milken Institute conference in Tokyo that SoftBank controls 90 percent of the ride-hailing market worldwide through its portfolio companies which also include China’s Didi Chuxing, Southeast Asia’s Grab and India’s Ola. But, as shares of Uber and smaller publicly-traded rival Lyft Inc. went into a tailspin, that bet is beginning to look increasingly like a risk factor.