Elliott Management reduces stake in SoftBank, makes profit despite Chinese tech crackdown


Elliott Management has quietly lowered its position in Masa Son’s SoftBank Group, The Post has confirmed.

And the Paul Singer-run hedge fund has made a tidy profit in the method — as a lot as $500 million, individuals with data of the matter informed The Post.

The profit comes whilst different traders have possible gotten burned by SoftBank, whose Vision Fund posted an $18 billion loss final year.

Now, SoftBank is entangled in Chinese tech investments which might be drawing the ire of China’s authorities. Even so, Elliott is holding on to a few of its stake in SoftBank, however its holdings are down “significantly” from the $2.5 billion position the fund beforehand held, individuals near the matter inform The Post.

The activist investor, which revealed its stake in February 2020 and agitated for SoftBank to implement share buybacks, nonetheless is speaking to Masa Son, the CEO, however the fund has moved on to focus extra squarely on its latest investments, such because the one in software company Citrix. SoftBank declined to remark to The Post.

Elliott’s means to maneuver by SoftBank’s ups and downs — with an obvious profit — is notable given many traders in SoftBank haven’t been so fortunate. The shares have logged a 33 p.c decline in the final six months; in the final year, they’re up round 4.5 p.c.

Elliott’s funding was bookended by two of SoftBank’s largest losses: a WeWork funding that soured in 2019 and extra just lately a Chinese crackdown on Big Tech-related shares that sapped $1 trillion in market worth as authorities officers excoriate the “barbarous growth” of the sector.

In July, SoftBank reported a internet profit of $6.9 billion, however the company faces an uphill battle given Chinese firms make up 23 p.c of the Vision Fund’s investments.

But even because the Chinese authorities roils SoftBank’s investments, Elliott has no timeline to utterly exit its position, individuals with data informed The Post.

SoftBank, which is understood for making large, generally audacious investments in tech-focused firms like T-Mobile and WeWork, is a serious holder of Alibaba and ride-hailing agency Didi — each of which have drawn the ire of Chinese officers currently.

People near Elliott say the company has no plans to completely exit their position whilst Softbank stock suffers amid a crackdown from the Chinese authorities.
Alamy Stock Photo

Elliott, in the meantime, sometimes buys up large stakes in firms, provides an inventory of calls for for change after which seems to be to exit with a profit. With SoftBank, Elliott took a softer method, the Wall Street Journal reported. The agency held each day calls with SoftBank, in response to the Journal, and made solutions for change. Son was keen to make a few of them.

In March 2020, a couple of month after Elliott disclosed its position, SoftBank introduced a $20 billion-plus buyback plan — lifting its share worth 20 p.c on the subsequent buying and selling day.

In its most up-to-date earnings name, SoftBank didn’t announce any share buybacks, disappointing analysts. The company stated it was contemplating future buybacks, however Citigroup Global Capital markets analysts stated in a word to purchasers on Aug. 30 that they noticed “little possibility” of a share buyback anytime quickly.