Masayoshi Son’s last earnings briefing was among his most somber in recent memory. The usually irrepressible billionaire opened by comparing the devastating impact of the coronavirus outbreak to the Great Depression. Son went on to explain why his SoftBank Group Corp. had just posted the biggest losses in its 39-year history. The company’s $100 billion Vision Fund lost almost $18 billion writing down the value of portfolio companies, including WeWork and Uber Technologies Inc. Then came this slide.
Son may have been trying to make a point that while some of his investments are likely to fail, others will emerge stronger from the crisis. But the graphic drew ridicule in the press and on social media. It didn’t help that a few hours later he lamented about being misunderstood, like Jesus Christ.