After Uber, WeWork turmoil, SoftBank eyes ‘dozens of IPOs’ from portfolio; guarantees change in outcome

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Updated: Mar 08, 2020 5:27 PM

The Vision Fund may earn “three to four times our investment” when Singapore-based ride-sharing company Grab is listed even as Beijing-based another ride-sharing company DiDi is expected to go public in the coming 18 months.

softbank, softbank vision fund, masayoshi son, rajeev misraAccording to Misra, the worst outcomes are in the rearview mirror.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund Head Rajeev Misra, who was recently accused of running a smear campaign against two top former executives, has predicted ‘dozens of IPO’ in the coming 18 months of over 90 companies in the fund’s portfolio, he told CNBC in an interview even as he guaranteed change in the outcome of fund’s investments over coming 24 months. Misra, however, admitted of “many mistakes, which is normal,” and incorporating the learning from them back into their Vision Fund 2. Odisha-born Misra, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, ran the smear campaign against Nikesh Arora and Alok Sama to become the right hand of SoftBank Founder Masayoshi Son.

According to Misra, the Vision Fund may earn “three to four times our investment” when Singapore-based ride-sharing company Grab is listed even as there is no deadline to it. Beijing-based another ride-sharing company DiDi, as per Misra, is expected to go public in the coming 18 months. He also praised ventures including the profitable Greensill — a London-based financial technology company of which 40 per cent ownership is with Softbank; along with Indian wallet company Paytm and Miami-based parking app REEF Technology of which the Vision Fund owns 85 per cent. However, a SoftBank spokesman, as per CNBC, noted that the proposed IPOs within the expected timeline aren’t assured and actual timings may differ significantly.

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Nonetheless, while 10 or 15 companies in SoftBank’s portfolio “may wobble over time,” according to Misra but the worst outcomes are in the rearview mirror. SoftBank’s star startups Uber and Slack, which went public at sky-high valuations of $82.4 billion and over $20 billion respectively, failed to put on great IPO performances. Uber’s valuation post IPO plummeted to under $50 billion in October. WeWork had raised nearly $11 billion from SoftBank and was likely to take the company public at $47-billion valuation but the company couldn’t deliver even at a reported valuation of just $20 billion. WeWork had secured a $9.5 billion from SoftBank in rescuing itself from alleged bankruptcy. The fund “has done a scrub” of all of its portfolio companies, Misra said in order for companies to have audited financials from a leading accounting firm apart from independent board members and audit committees.

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