SoftBank sells $75M of Compass stock

Fourth sale in a year reduces top investor’s holding in brokerage to 15% 

Softbank Vision Fund sells $75M of Compass stock
Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son and Compass CEO Robert Reffkin (Getty)

SoftBank Vision Fund, Compass’ largest investor, sold more than $74.5 million worth of the real estate brokerage’s stock.

The sale of 16.9 million shares last week accounted for 18 percent of its total stake in Compass. SoftBank, which invested more than $1 billion in the startup before its IPO in 2021, is left with 15 percent of Compass stock after this latest stock sale. 

The move is part of Softbank’s larger goal to get below 10 percent ownership in all of its public investments, said Jason Helfstein, managing director and head of internet research at Oppenheimer.

This was not SoftBank’s first big sale of Compass stock and more are likely to follow, Helfstein said. SoftBank sold off stock in the brokerage in May, June and December 2023, as well as January of this year. 

Still, investors do not seem to be dissuaded by the move, nor Compass’ $133 million in losses reported in its most recent earnings call, Helfstein said. 

“​​In general, investors are comfortable with how the Compass story is playing out in relation to the outlook for interest rates and increased movement around residential real estate,” he said. 

The company’s stock fell 4.3 percent after the Thursday sale but rebounded quickly over the weekend, according to Yahoo! Finance. 

“This is a positive for Compass as it allows an early investor to get liquidity and new investors to begin buying for the long-term future,” said Rory Golod, president of growth and communications at Compass.

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Golod issued an identical response when contacted for comment by The Real Deal back in December. 

Helfstein also sees the upside for Compass.

“The positive is that it will improve the float — the amount of public shares that trade — which does help reduce volatility in stock price,” Helfstein said. 

SoftBank’s Compass stock has depreciated in value during this time, but SoftBank’s decision to shed historical investments does not appear to be isolated to the brokerage. 

The company, a global leader in start-up investments, saw its U.S.-listed portfolio diminish by nearly $29 billion as it sold stock in Compass Doordash, Southeast Asian “superapp” Grab Holdings Ltd. and other companies, according Fortune. This is part of a long-term plan to offload historical investments to focus on investments in semiconductors, or “chips,” and artificial intelligence.

For now, SoftBank remains Compass’ largest investor. It held nearly 92.47 million shares of stock in the company before last Thursday’s sale and now holds 75.6 million, according to SEC filings and Yahoo! Finance. Last week’s sale lowered the Japanese holding company’s stake in Compass to 15.3 percent of outstanding shares.

The brokerage’s next largest owners are Vanguard (58.9 million shares) and Blackrock (22.3 million shares). 

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