Softbank founder Masayoshi Son’s big win was the $20m he stuck into Alibaba back when it was a start-up in 2000, a stake that was worth north of $140bn by the end of 2020.
This may well have been the greatest investment in venture history. But, as ever, Nemesis was skulking round the corner with the weighted sock, and it struck after Son found himself drinking megapints of the Kool-Aid peddled by WeWork founder Adam Neumann. Last week Son announced that Softbank’s Vision Fund had lost $27bn in the year, a proper hammering caused by rising interest rates triggering a sell-off of speculative assets, and China’s ongoing and often arbitrary crackdown on the tech sector. ..