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SoftBank’s $9 Billion Buyback Joy Could Prove to Be Short-Lived

Pedestrians in front of a SoftBank Corp. store in Tokyo, Japan.

Pedestrians in front of a SoftBank Corp. store in Tokyo, Japan.

Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg
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Masayoshi Son, who counted Steve Jobs as a friend, mirrored the late Apple Inc. founder on Monday when he kept Softbank Group Corp. investors waiting nearly two hours before revealing his “one more thing” after quarterly results were disclosed -- a 1 trillion yen ($9 billion) share buyback. 

Son, the company’s founder and chairman said that as one of the shareholders, he was “delighted.” Investors, starved of buybacks for the past six months, agreed, sending shares 11% higher on Tuesday in Tokyo, before running back some of those gains with a drop of as much as 5.1% on Wednesday. History indicates that repurchases need to keep coming for any gains to be sustained.