Japan’s SoftBank takes major hit after WeWork valuation tumbles
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Japan’s SoftBank takes major hit after WeWork valuation tumbles

Firm reports staggering operating loss of $6.4 billion in 2nd quarter amid sharp drop in value of its stake in workspace provider co-founded by Israeli-American Adam Neumann

SoftBank Group Corp. CEO Masayoshi Son speaks during a SoftBank World presentation at a hotel in Tokyo, Japan, July 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)
SoftBank Group Corp. CEO Masayoshi Son speaks during a SoftBank World presentation at a hotel in Tokyo, Japan, July 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)

TOKYO — Japanese giant SoftBank Group suffered an operating loss of $6.4 billion in the second quarter, it said Wednesday, as investments in startups such as WeWork and Uber took a massive hit.

In the three-month period ending September 30, operating losses hit a whopping 704.4 billion yen ($6.4 billion) for the venture capital behemoth, dragged down by massive bets on Silicon valley startups which have not panned out.

The firm said first-half operating losses from its Vision Fund and Delta Fund came to 572.6 billion yen, largely “due to a decrease in the fair values of investments including Uber and WeWork and its three affiliates.”

Net profit in the six months to September sank 49.8 percent to 421.6 billion yen on an operating loss of 15.6 billion yen.

The company did not publish its outlook for the year to March 2020, but uncertain roads lie ahead as shares in its key investments like Uber and Slack continue to slide.

Adam Neumann speaks onstage at a WeWork event at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, January 9, 2019. (Michael Kovac/Getty Images for WeWork)

SoftBank’s flamboyant founder Masayoshi Son has faced renewed scrutiny of his investment acumen in the wake of WeWork’s dramatic fall from grace.

Last month, SoftBank confirmed that it was injecting billions of dollars into WeWork, once hailed as a shining unicorn valued at $47 billion at the start of the year.

The workspace startup has gone from an investor darling to canceling its IPO and seeing its Israeli-American co-founder Adam Neumann pushed out, albeit with a reported package of more than $1.5 billion.

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