Masa Son says Jesus Christ was also misunderstood

Main backer of WeWork and Compass responds after huge losses

National /
May.May 18, 2020 02:45 PM
Photo illustration of Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son in The Last Supper (Illustration by The Real Deal)

Photo illustration of Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son in The Last Supper (Illustration by The Real Deal)

Masayoshi Son, whose SoftBank is facing $13 billion in losses thanks to splashy bets on flailing startups, made a surprising comparison on a private earnings call Monday.

When analysts questioned the Japanese conglomerate’s dismal performance, Son at one point responded that Jesus was also criticized and misunderstood, the Financial Times reported, citing three sources who were on the call.

The record losses primarily stemmed from SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund, which has poured billions of dollars into real estate tech startups such as WeWork, Compass, Opendoor and Katerra. The Vision Fund lost $17.7 billion last year after writing down investments including WeWork and Uber. WeWork has seen its valuation plunge to $2.9 billion from $47 billion less than a year ago.

On the call, Son promised that his Vision Fund would tackle “the biggest challenges and risks facing humanity today.”

The lofty aspirations are reminiscent of the grandiose aspirations of the startups on which he bet. WeWork’s former CEO and co-founder Adam Neumann proposed on a staff retreat that the office startup would “solve the problem of children without parents” and last year revised its mission statement to say that the firm would “elevate the world’s consciousness.”

SoftBank, whose first Vision Fund drew investments from the likes of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment, is now self-funding the second iteration of the investment vehicle.

Two individuals on the call said Son might have used the comparison to show that his reputation could be reevaluated if his investments improve. Perhaps Son hopes that his bets, too, will rise from the dead. [FT] — Danielle Balbi


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Wendy Silverstein (Credit: Getty Images)
Wendy Silverstein, co-head of WeWork’s real-estate fund, is out
Wendy Silverstein, co-head of WeWork’s real-estate fund, is out
WeWork CEO Adam Neumann (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)
WeWork’s side businesses are fizzling
WeWork’s side businesses are fizzling
Sarah Pontius (Credit: Union College)
Another head rolls at WeWork
Another head rolls at WeWork
Adam Neumann and the “Guitar House” in in Corte Madera (Getty, Realtor)
Adam Neumann gets $22M for California estate
Adam Neumann gets $22M for California estate
Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son and Compass CEO Robert Reffkin (Getty, Compass)
SoftBank buys $72M of Compass stock
SoftBank buys $72M of Compass stock
Better CEO Vishal Garg and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son (Better.com, Getty)
Better.com lands $500M investment from SoftBank
Better.com lands $500M investment from SoftBank
Clockwise: Ori Allon, Robert Citrone, Robert Reffkin and Masayoshi Son (Getty/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
Here’s who made bank in Compass’ IPO
Here’s who made bank in Compass’ IPO
Tower 535 in Hong Kong and WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani (Photos via SOM, Getty)
WeWork exits first Hong Kong location as part of global downsizing
WeWork exits first Hong Kong location as part of global downsizing
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...