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Opinion

2020 look ahead: SoftBank's Son must repair damaged reputation

WeWork debacle has undermined efforts to raise $108 billion Vision Fund 2

| Japan

2019 was a disaster for SoftBank Group and its founder-CEO Masayoshi Son that goes beyond its shocking $6.4 billion loss in the third quarter alone. More serious were signs of trouble from a broad range of companies SoftBank's affiliated Vision Fund has invested in; these have badly damaged Son's golden reputation. 2020 will tell whether the damage can be repaired.

During the first half of 2019 the disappointing IPOs of SoftBank Mobile, ride-hailer Uber and messaging service Slack not only depressed the net asset value of Vision Fund 1 but also shook confidence in Son's ability to replicate his legendary investment in e-commerce giant Alibaba. This multiplied $20 million into a stake now worth more than $100 billion.

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