After 18 years of fighting alongside Softbank founder Sun Zhengyi, Uniqlo founder Yanai Yanai chose to part ways with him. In nominal terms, Yanai is about to focus on running his own company, but in the eyes of the outside world, Yanai is leaving more or less emotionally-after Sun Zhengyi ’s “weaping” Wework and “thundering” Uber, his radical Investment style has also become the focus of the storm. As an important ally of Sun Zhengyi, and one of the few inside SoftBank who dared to sing against Sun Zhengyi, Liu Jing left at this time, which inevitably makes people feel that it is a two shots under the divergence of ideas. The big show.
Lost allies <br /> The alliance between Sun Zhengyi and Yanai Zheng will end in 2019. On the 27th local time, a statement issued by SoftBank indicated that CE O Yanagiu, Uniqlo's parent company, will be officially retiring from the SoftBank Group's board of directors on December 31. This means that 18 years after joining Softbank's board of directors in June 2001, Yanai will no longer work with Sun Zhengyi.
According to SoftBank, Yanai is applying for resignation and accepted by Softbank, and Yanai is resigning because he "want to focus on the industry." This claim is confirmed by Uniqlo. Uniqlo also said that Yanai's resignation was to expand overseas business and to strengthen the domestic business foundation.
After Yanai was withdrawing, there were only two outside directors on SoftBank's board of directors, namely Akira Iijima, Chairman of Mitsui & Co., Ltd. and Matsuo Feng, a professor of artificial intelligence at the University of Tokyo. It is worth noting that the latter has almost no corporate governance experience. Two years ago, another friend of Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of Nidec Group, Yongshou Zhongxin, has also resigned as an outside director of SoftBank. sound".
At present, for Yanai Zheng's successor, SoftBank has confirmed that he has not yet determined the candidate, but how much Yanai Zheng's departure makes people feel embarrassed. A person familiar with the matter revealed that despite the differences in business strategies between the two, Sun Zhengyi still hopes that Yanai will be able to stay in office. However, Yanai hopes to focus on his own business, help Xunpin Group expand rapidly in new global markets such as Italy, India, and Vietnam, and invest heavily in robotics to improve logistics and supply chains in order to adapt to the new era of e-commerce. In September this year, Uniqlo opened its first Italian store in Milan.
Yanai is not a simple figure. In the past decade, Yanai Zheng and Zheng Zhengyi have almost contracted the throne of Japan's richest man, but according to the latest data on Friday, Yanai Zheng has reached $ 30.2 billion, compared to the second richest man in Japan. , Its worth is only 20.7 billion US dollars. At the height of his popularity, Sun Zhengyi once approached the world's richest man by investing in Yahoo and Ali. However, under a series of "rollover" operations, Sun Zhengyi was in the field today.
If it were ordinary resignation, Yanai Zheng's departure might not have caused a big splash, but the crux of the problem now is that there may have been "cracks" between the comrades-in-arms who have fought side by side for 18 years. To the outside world, Yanai Zheng may be one of the few people within SoftBank who can contradict Sun Zhengyi. One example that can prove this is that at the SoftBank Shareholders' Meeting in June this year, Yanai Zheng confessed: "No matter what Sun Zhengyi does What, I always raise objections, dreams are a good thing, nothing is more important than realistic management, we should still be down-to-earth. "
At that time, Son Zhengyi was ambitious, saying that the value of SoftBank's portfolio could grow 33 times to 200 trillion yen in the next 20 years. At that time, Yanai was pretending to be angry in the laughter of the directors, and reminded shareholders to always pay attention to Sun Zhengyi, otherwise he would lose control. The defeat came too quickly. In October of this year, WeWork, the world's largest "second landlord", suspended its IPO plan, which opened a chain of reactions. Bubble comments were overwhelming. As the largest shareholder of WeWork, SoftBank Group became an instant Public criticism.
From this point, Yanai's departure seems to be intertwined. A noteworthy point in time was two years ago, on August 25, 2017, Yanai was talking about Sun Zhengyi in an interview with the media. In his evaluation, Sun Zhengyi has a bad problem, which is that the point of interest is constantly changing. I want to do this, and I want to do it. " "SoftBank is already a big company, so it can't be a big talk", but Yanai turned right afterwards, saying "but this is also the charm of Sun Zhengyi."
It is worth noting that it was exactly that day that Sun Zhengyi, a top investor, shot again, once for $ 4.4 billion, and Sun Zhengyi's target was WeWork. At that time, WeWork was dazzling with the aura of the world's fifth largest startup. According to market rumors, at the time WeWork co-founder and former CEO Adam Neumann only took Sun Zhengyi to walk around WeWork headquarters for 12 minutes, which led to the latter's first major investment of 4.4 billion US dollars, and this 4.4 billion US dollars It was also one of the largest single investment made by a venture capital company at the time.
One is an investor and the other is an industrialist. This generalization may be more appropriate. Compared to Sun Zhengyi's radical, Yanai is much more down-to-earth. When he mentioned Sun Zhengyi earlier, he stated that he did not want to be an investor, but wanted to become a real industrialist. In October of this year, the annual results of Infocomm Group for fiscal year 2019 showed that Infocomm Group achieved revenue of 2.3 trillion yen, a year-on-year increase of 7.5%.
Regarding Liu Jingzheng's "conflict" with Sun Zhengyi's investment philosophy and the handling of failed investments such as WeWork, a reporter from Beijing Business Daily contacted SoftBank, but as of press time, no reply was received.
Disappointed SoftBank <br /> At the moment of losing Yanai Masaru, SoftBank is going through a very special period, and it all starts with WeWork. The listing failed, and the valuation was avalanche. The $ 47 billion valuation was only $ 8 billion in a blink of an eye. Forbes once adjusted WeWork's valuation to $ 2.8 billion. Everyone seemed to hear the bubble burst. Sun Zhengyi also bowed his head rarely, saying that "the wrong judgment of Neumann was his biggest mistake."
After investing billions of dollars in WeWork, Sun Zhengyi admitted that he turned WeWork into a monster, but had to rescue him. It was also at that time that WeWork announced that it had reached a $ 9.5 billion rescue agreement with SoftBank. SoftBank would acquire 80% of WeWork's shares and control. WeWork would become an affiliate of SoftBank, but not a subsidiary. In comparison, Neumann hurried off with his $ 1.7 billion severance pay, while Son Zhengyi was busy paying for his madness.
After this incident, Sun Zhengyi almost fell into the altar, and Japanese bankers who have been firmly behind SoftBank also began to re-examine SoftBank and even Sun Zhengyi. Executives at these banks have generally reacted, raising doubts about the billionaire's approach to managing SoftBank and the $ 100 billion Vision Fund. It is understood that in the past 40 years, the Japanese banking industry has provided more than $ 15 billion in loans to SoftBank and Vision Fund. The benefits are reciprocal. According to market research firm Freeman & Co, Softbank has paid more than $ 1.9 billion to global banks since 2015, most of which went to Japanese banks.
It is worth noting that WeWork is not the only investment case where Sun Zhengyi failed. In May of this year, Sun Zhengyi successively threw in 7.7 billion US dollars of online ride-hailing ancestor Uber successfully listed, and the initial IPO price was 45 US dollars. However, in the past, Uber has always been in trouble, with a large number of layoffs, selling sub-businesses, and huge losses ... At present, Uber's stock price is only $ 30.17 / share, and its market value is $ 51.464 billion. On the same day, Uber broke its hair and its market value fell below $ 70 billion. At the performance level, Uber has also lost money for six consecutive quarters.
Affected by WeWork and Uber, SoftBank's operating loss in the second fiscal quarter ended September this year was as high as US $ 6.5 billion, and this was Softbank's first quarterly loss in 14 years. Sun Zhengyi bluntly stated at the press conference at the time that SoftBank's investment in WeWork through the Vision Fund dragged down the group's performance. Right now, SoftBank is struggling to cope with the failure brought by WeWork and promises to strengthen the management of WeWork, but the outside world is generally critical of SoftBank, and the reason is that there is almost no genuine independent voice within SoftBank to question Sun Zhengyi's judgment.
Source: Beijing Daily Author: Yang Yuehan