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Almost Everyone at SoftBank Thinks Going Private Is a Bad Idea

  • Company insiders have discussed idea off and on for years
  • But they see substantial reasons to oppose such a plan
SoftBank Stores As Group Poised to Return to Profit After Big Losses
Photographer: Toru Hanai/Bloomberg
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Inside SoftBank Group Corp., the idea of going private through a buyout has been discussed off and on for at least five years. Almost everyone except founder Masayoshi Son opposes it, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The reasons are substantial: No one has pulled off a buyout anywhere close to SoftBank’s $134 billion valuation, it’s not clear the company could raise the necessary financing and such a complex deal would prove a distraction for at least a year, the people said. Senior managers also worry that without public shareholders, it would be harder to keep Son’s wildest impulses in check, one person said.