SoftBank Group (SFTBY): Alibaba Co-Founder Jack Ma Stepping Down From Board

By Amit Chowdhry ● May 18, 2020
  • Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma is stepping down from the SoftBank Group Corp (OTCMKTS: SFTBY) board of directors

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma is stepping down from the SoftBank Group Corp (OTCMKTS: SFTBY) board of directors. Ma has been a board member at SoftBank since 2007 and he will step down from the board following SoftBank’s annual general meeting on June 25.

Ma had also stepped down as the executive chairman of Alibaba this past September. He stepped down from that role in order to focus more on philanthropy.

SoftBank also recently revealed it was going to repurchase $4.7 billion of its shares by March 2021. And SoftBank’s board approved a plan to buy back $41 billion worth of shares following negotiations with activist investor Elliott Management.

In related news, Softbank Group said today it will be raising 1.25 trillion yen (US$11.7 billion) using Alibaba stock to fund the buybacks of its own shares. This strategy was revealed by SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son. Son revealed this detail during an earnings brief after the company revealed it dropped to a 1.4 trillion yen loss for the fiscal year, largely due to losses at the Vision Fund. The credibility of SoftBank’s investment strategy through its Vision Fund has taken a hit following significant investments in companies like WeWork.

The coronavirus pandemic caused the Vision Fund value to go into a negative as the $75 billion investment in 88 startups have become worth $69.6 billion as of the end of March. And the $100 billion fund saw two consecutive quarters of losses before going into a negative following the pandemic.

Going forward, SoftBank proposed the reelection of the ten other existing board members. And three new board members are being elected, including Chief Financial Officer Yoshimitsu Goto, Waseda Business School professor Yuko Kawamoto, and Cadence Design Systems Inc (NASDAQ: CDNS) CEO Lip-Bu Tan.

SoftBank was one of Alibaba’s earliest investors back in 2000. And Alibaba was one of SoftBank’s best investments.