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Alex Webb

Billionaire Bets On a World Without Car Crashes

There may be method in Son's Swiss Re madness, involving insurance for self-driving vehicles.

It has almost become a refrain: just what is Masayoshi Son up to? After plowing money into companies as diverse as Uber Technologies Inc., office rental specialist WeWork Cos Inc. and fintech lender SoFi, the billionaire chief of Softbank Group Corp. is in talks to buy as much as a third of Swiss Re, a 155-year-old reinsurance giant.

As ever with "Masa", this has prompted lots of head-scratching, with some commentators saying he wants access to the insurer's cash -- a la Warren Buffett -- and others reckoning that he'd like to create "the iTunes of personal finance". There's also a chance that he just spies an undervalued asset: