Masa Son pours money into new fund as Softbank scales back China bets

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son is doubling down on his investments.

The billionaire investor behind tech companies like WeWork, Alibaba and Doordash plans to invest $2.6 billion of his own money for a 17 percent stake in SoftBank’s most recent venture capital play: Vision Fund 2, he said on Tuesday.

Son made the announcement during an earnings call with investors Tuesday — months after SoftBank announced it was tripling the size of the fund to $30 billion following months without any significant fundraising.

The company now says it has $40 billion of committed capital for its artificial intelligence focused fund, which boasts returns of 119 percent.

“Son is trying to create a culture of putting your money where your mouth is,” a person close to SoftBank tells The Post.

But Son’s commitment is also raising questions as business leaders are typically encouraged to avoid mixing their personal investments with their corporate responsibilities.

Masa Son speaks
People close to Masayoshi Son say he wants to “put his money where his mouth is” with the latest investment.
Getty Images

“Either he thinks the deals are good and he wants in or he’s trying to prop up the fund,” Jeff Stewart, co-founder and managing director of Global Public Offering Fund said.

Softbank’s Vision Fund 1 and 2 have become legendary for placing huge bets — and pouring massive sums — into startups including WeWork, Didi and DoorDash.

But the investment giant has also been going through a rough patch, starting in 2019 when WeWork took a major hit to its valuation.

The fund on Tuesday reported a net profit of $6.9 billion, a 39 percent drop over the prior year. The SoftBank vision fund reported a profit of $2.1 billion; the previous quarter Vision Fund profit was $58 billion.

Softbank faces a new challenge as China cracks down on tech companies there, including companies run by Alibaba’s Jack Ma.

Chinese companies make up 23 percent of the Vision Fund’s investments, with Alibaba makes up almost 50 percent of the company’s asset value SoftBank estimates.

Son also told investors on Tuesday that he would be cautious with Chinese investments moving forward given that country’s crackdown on all things tech.

“Until the situation is clearer we want to wait and see,” said Son, who has a 27 percent stake in Softbank, which declined comment.

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