Masayoshi Son, Chairman and CEO of SoftBank Group Corp., reacted during a dialogue session with Jack Ma, former Chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., no photo, at the Tokyo Forum 2019 in Tokyo, Japan, on Friday, December 6. . , 2019.
Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg via Getty Images
SoftBank CEO and founder Masayoshi Son said he was aggressively selling assets this year to prepare for the “worst-case scenario”
Son spoke almost from Tokyo on Tuesday at the Dealbook conference of The New York Times. He said he initially targeted asset sales of about $ 40 billion this year, but eventually sold about 80 billion companies to give the company liquidity in the event of a global emergency.
“Any disaster could happen in the next two or three months,” Sin said. “So we’re just preparing for the worst-case scenario.”
Among its biggest asset sales, SoftBank sold Nvidia’s semiconductor company ARM for $ 40 billion and about $ 20 billion of its stake in the new T-Mobile, which merged with Sprint earlier this year. If markets fall, SoftBank could use the money to buy undervalued assets, increase its portfolio investment in the SoftBank Vision Fund or repurchase more shares, Son said.
Although Son did not provide details on what a “disaster” might be in the coming months, he hinted at the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers about how an event could be a catalyst for a wider collapse.
“Anything can happen in this kind of situation,” Sin said. “Of course, a medical vaccine is coming. But who knows in the next two or three months?”
Son has twice declined to comment on the prospect of taking SoftBank privately, an idea the Financial Times announced earlier this year that Son considered. Activist shareholder Elliott Management’s advice, SoftBank aggressively repurchases shares to take advantage of the market discount on the value of SoftBank’s many core assets. SoftBank’s Vision Fund holds stakes in over 80 different technology companies.
If Son aggressively bought even more shares, he could make it much easier to take on private individuals by increasing his stake.
Son also said he thought it was “sad” that the Trump administration had threatened to close TikTok in the United States over dubious threats to national security. He said America’s largest technology companies should not break down just because their market ratings are high. SoftBank has been investing in some of the largest US technology companies in recent months.
“Just being big and powerful isn’t necessarily a bad thing,” Son said.
WATCH: SoftBank’s Masa Son: We want to be prepared for the worst case scenario