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WeWork cripples allure of Masa

SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son (Credit: Bloomberg)

SoftBank has pumped more than $10 billion in WeWork since 2017, and which cratered since it withdrew its much-maligned IPO plan following the sloppy exit of its self-centered, self-dealing founder, Adam Neumann. A “tough time,” Masa concedes. The previous day in March, he had given a longer explanation to Forbes privately: “We paid too much valuation for WeWork, and we did too much believe in the entrepreneur. But I think even with WeWork, we’re now confident that we put in new management, a new plan, and we’re going to turn it around and make a decent return.” 

  • Be Smart: Masa’s prediction about WeWork already looks absurdly wrong—judging by WeWork’s debt prices, SoftBank’s stake there appears to be heading toward zero, or dimes on the dollar in the best case, Forbes noted.
  • Dig Deeper: The ultimate price is more than the multibillion-dollar loss. It crippled the idea of Masa as a contrarian genius, as opposed to somebody who got duped by a pot-smoking, governance-challenged time-share salesman: “It’s always difficult. It’s not science, it’s art. You get excited with an entrepreneur who seems great but does not necessarily deliver a great return.”
  • Worth Noting: Forbes has been the publication that has glorified Masa and Adam Neumann in the past. Reality check seems to have finally dawned on the tech world.

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