SoftBank plans Vision Fund job cuts after record net loss

SoftBank Group is planning to terminate jobs at its Vision Fund investing arm, CEO Masayoshi Son said, after a crash in the value of its portfolio pushed his conglomerate to a record quarterly net loss.
SoftBank JapanVision Fund, which offered significant VC funding to tech startups such as ridehailers Uber and Didi, posted a $23.1 billion loss in the April-June quarter as value evaporated from its investments in the market rout, Reuters news report said.

The report did not reveal more details on the job cut. “We need to cut costs with no sacred areas,” Masayoshi Son said.

Vision Fund posted a record $26.2 billion quarterly loss in May after SoftBank was caught out by rising interest rates and political instability that hammered markets globally.

Masayoshi Son has already scaled back investment activity. The Vision Fund arm approved just $600 million in new investments in the first quarter, compared with $20.6 billion in the same period a year earlier.

On Monday, the billionaire pledged to go further: limiting the second fund just to managing its current portfolio of investments, while planning workforce cuts at Vision Fund and cost reductions across the group.

Masayoshi Son had already suffered a series of high-profile reversals after big bets by the first Vision Fund in late-stage startups such as office sharing company WeWork soured, prompting him to tighten investment controls with the second fund.

The billionaire said Vision Fund 2, which has taken smaller stakes in a larger number of companies, had invested at frothy prices.

The second Vision Fund’s portfolio of 269 firms, which cost $48.2 billion to acquire, was worth just $37.2 billion at end-June.

Listed investments that fell during the quarter included warehouse robotics firm AutoStore and artificial intelligence firm SenseTime Group.

SoftBank said it wrote down the value of unlisted assets across its two Vision Funds by 1.14 trillion yen ($8.45 billion).

SoftBank has exited companies including ridehailer Uber Technologies and home-selling platform Opendoor Technologies, for a total gain of $5.6 billion.