China’s richest man, Jack Ma, has stepped down from his position as one of the directors of the Board of Softbank Group. Jack will be officially leaving the board at the annual shareholder meeting on June 25.
Already, there are three new board director nominations in place. They are: SoftBank Group chief financial officer, Yoshimitsu Goto; Cadence Design Systems chief executive Lip-Bu Tan; and Waseda Business School professor, Yuko Kawamoto. At the shareholders meeting in June, one of three nominees will be voted into the Board.
Softbank announced in April that it expected a $16.5 billion loss from its $100 vision fund as a result of the downturn being suffered by most of its tech portfolio companies. WeWork, Uber, and OneWeb are some of Softbank’s tech investments that are not performing well.
WeWork has nearly collapsed and the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on Uber’s operations. OneWeb recently filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy after Softbank refused to roll out another round of funding.
The Group expects a $12.5 billion annual operating loss as well and will book a $7.4 billion loss on investments outside the vision fund.
Softbank Group is not having a very good year, as this is the first time in 15 years that the Group will record a loss. However, its 25.1% ownership of Alibaba shares gives the Group its most worthy investment which is currently valued at more than $100 billion.
The Group will be selling or monetizing $41 billion of its assets and purchasing back $4.7 billion of its shares. This is part of its effort to reduce debt and increase its cash reserves.
With Jack stepping down, Softbank Group still has 10 more directors on the Board. No official reason was given for Ma’s departure from the Board, however, he resigned as Alibaba’s chairman in September and has since focused more on philanthropic activities.
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