Thursday, November 19, 2020

ICYMI: "SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son says he’s hoarding cash to prepare for ‘worst case scenario’"

 From CNBC, November 17:

  • SoftBank doubled its internal target for selling down assets this year in preparation for a potential “worst case scenario” in the next two to three months as coronavirus cases spike, CEO Masayoshi Son said.
  • Son spoke at The New York Times’ Dealbook Conference on Tuesday
  • Son twice declined to comment on the prospect of one day taking SoftBank private.

SoftBank CEO and founder Masayoshi Son said he aggressively sold assets this year to prepare for a “worst case scenario” that could take place if the world shuts down in a second wave of coronavirus outbreaks.

Son spoke virtually from Tokyo on Tuesday at The New York Times’ Dealbook Conference. He said he initially targeted about $40 billion of asset sales this year but ended up selling off about $80 billion of companies to give the company liquidity in case of a global emergency.

“In the next two or three months, any disaster could happen,” Son said. “So we’re just preparing for the worst case scenario.”

Among its largest asset sales, SoftBank sold semiconductor company ARM to Nvidia for $40 billion and about $20 billion of its stake in the new T-Mobile, which merged with Sprint earlier this year. If markets dip, SoftBank could use the money to buy undervalued assets, shore up its portfolio investments in the SoftBank Vision Fund, or buy back more stock, Son said.

While Son didn’t offer specifics on what “disaster” could be likely in the coming months, he alluded to Lehman Brothers’ 2008 collapse for how one event could be a catalyst for a broader meltdown....