FILE PHOTO: SoftBank Corp placard is prepared during a ceremony to mark the company’s debut on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo, Japan December 19, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

TOKYO (Reuters) – Shares of SoftBank Group Corp fell 2% in early trade on Wednesday as the tech conglomerate moved to take over beleaguered office-space sharing startup WeWork with a funding injection of more than $10 billion.

The deal takes SoftBank’s total investment in WeWork to more than $19 billion, sources told Reuters on Tuesday, with the money-losing startup now valued at just $8 billion.

SoftBank’s shares have fallen 30% from their July peak as investor scepticism grows over the path to profitability for its cash-burning marquee investments like WeWork and publicly listed Uber Technologies Inc.

The highly leveraged group, which is facing chunky writedowns on the valuations of many of its tech bets when it reports second-quarter earnings next month, is seeking to avoid consolidating WeWork on its books, one source said.

The disarray at WeWork, which is scrambling for cash following a flopped IPO attempt, comes as SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son struggles to raise money for a successor to his $100 billion Vision Fund, sources told Reuters earlier this month.

Japan’s benchmark index was flat on Wednesday as trading restarted following a public holiday.

Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Clarence Fernandez; Editing by Stephen Coates



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