Somehow, thanks to the global crush of liquidity and a broad-based rally in tech SoftBank Group's shares are riding high, making Paul Singer and Elliott look like activist geniuses once again.
Thanks to the global crush of liquidity and a broad-based rally in tech shares (with some programmatic buybacks thrown in the mix, as upping SoftBank's buybacks was critical to Singer's plan), SoftBank is finding itself back in investors' good graces, and Masayoshi Son is claiming vindication.
And what better way to telegraph Masa's great comeback than by doubling down on one of SoftBank's biggest blunders: WeWork. SoftBank is plowing $1.1 billion into WeWork to help it weather the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg reports, citing an internal staff memo.
The decision isn't exactly a huge surprise. It certainly fits with the theme of SoftBank's latest quarterly earnings release, whereby the firm saw its earnings bounce back from record lows, posting a $12 billion profit, compared with a $13 billion loss during the same period from a year prior. In reality, much of this boost is due to SoftBank shedding its shares in its US subsidiary Sprint and T-Mobile US.
Per BBG, the new SoftBank money is “another sign of SoftBank’s continued support for our business,” boosts WeWork's cash on hand to $4.1 billion, according to a memo from SoftBank Chief Financial Officer Kimberly Ross.
Will that be enough to allow the now dramatically-downsized WeWork to hang on until the pandemic lifts, when there might be an opportunity - in theory, at least - to profit from changing work habits?
That's a big if.
Of course, the BBG story didn't say anything about an ongoing lawsuit against SoftBank filed by WeWork's co-founder and former CEO Adam Neumann, who attacked SoftBank for renegging on some $3 billion promised to Neumann and a group of other early shareholders, mostly VC funds.
At the time, SoftBank said it would funnel that money back into WeWork. We guess this is them making good on that promise, for better or worse.