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SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son says he is hoarding money to organize for ‘worst case situation’

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SoftBank CEO and founder Masayoshi Son stated he aggressively offered belongings this yr to organize for a “worst case situation” that would happen if the world shuts down in a second wave of coronavirus outbreaks.

Son spoke nearly from Tokyo on Tuesday at The New York Occasions’ Dealbook Convention. He stated he initially focused about $40 billion of asset gross sales this yr however ended up promoting off about $80 billion of firms to offer the corporate liquidity in case of a worldwide emergency.

“Within the subsequent two or three months, any catastrophe might occur,” Son stated. “So we’re simply getting ready for the worst case situation.”

Amongst its largest asset gross sales, SoftBank offered semiconductor firm ARM to Nvidia for $40 billion and about $20 billion of its stake within the new T-Cellular, which merged with Dash earlier this yr. If markets dip, SoftBank might use the cash to purchase undervalued belongings, shore up its portfolio investments within the SoftBank Imaginative and prescient Fund, or purchase again extra inventory, Son stated.

Whereas Son did not supply specifics on what “catastrophe” might be probably within the coming months, he alluded to Lehman Brothers’ 2008 collapse for a way one occasion might be a catalyst for a broader meltdown.

“Something can occur in this type of state of affairs,” Son stated. “After all, medical vaccine is coming. However who is aware of within the subsequent two or three months?”

Son twice declined to touch upon the prospect of taking SoftBank non-public — an concept The Monetary Occasions reported earlier this yr that Son has thought-about. With recommendation from activist shareholder Elliott Administration, SoftBank has aggressively purchased again inventory to reap the benefits of a market low cost relative to the worth of SoftBank’s many underlying belongings. SoftBank’s Imaginative and prescient Fund owns stakes in additional than 80 totally different know-how firms.

If Son have been to aggressively purchase again much more inventory, he might successfully make a take-private a lot simpler as he elevated his stake in excellent shares.

Son additionally stated he thought it was “unhappy” that the Trump administration has threated to close down TikTok within the U.S. over questionable nationwide safety threats. He stated the most important U.S. know-how firms should not be damaged up simply because their market valuations are giant. SoftBank has invested in a few of the largest U.S. know-how firms in latest months.

“Simply being large and highly effective just isn’t essentially an evil factor,” Son stated.

WATCH: SoftBank’s Masa Son: We wish to be ready for the worst-case situation

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