Softbank Chief Sees 15 Invested Firms Failing amid Pandemic

Economy

Tokyo, April 8 (Jiji Press)--Softbank Group Corp. <9984> Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son has predicted that around 15 of the 88 firms in its 10-trillion-yen Vision Fund's investment portfolio could collapse in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I would say 15 of them will go bankrupt," Son, also the founder of the Japanese internet and telecommunications group, said in an interview published on Forbes magazine's website.

Son defended the Vision Fund's management, in the face of large valuation losses on portfolio companies including U.S. ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc. and The We Company, which runs the WeWork office-sharing business.

On March 27, British satellite company OneWeb Ltd., in which Softbank Group owns the biggest stake, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States.

The Softbank Group chief admitted in the Forbes interview that the group "paid too much valuation for WeWork."

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