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SoftBank says President Arora to resign on Wednesday

SoftBank President Nikesh Arora to resign

In a surprise move, SoftBank said on Tuesday President Nikesh Arora would resign as of its Wednesday shareholder meeting, less than two years after he joined the group.

SoftBank said Arora, a former Google executive, and chairman and chief executive Masayoshi Son had disagreed over when Arora would replace Son as head of the group.

Masayoshi Son will now remain CEO longer than originally planned, while Arora will assume an advisory role.

Arora was one of the highest paid corporate executives in the world, according to The Wall Street Journal, earning $73 million in 2015 and $135 million a year earlier.

As recently as August, Arora said he planned to buy nearly 60 billion yen ($483 million) in SoftBank shares, saying he wanted to make a "personal bet" to show his commitment to the internet conglomerate.

"This is a large transaction for me, and involves taking an enormous risk," Arora said in a filing to the Tokyo Stock Exchange. "However, I am extremely confident about the future of the SoftBank Group."

The stake would have made Arora the biggest shareholder in the company after Son, but Arora sold those shares back to Son at a "minimal loss."

Arora tweeted that he will continue to support the companies that he has invested in. Arora was considered instrumental as SoftBank aggressively pursued investments in internet companies, though his record was not without criticism, as he tried to turn around Sprint and some investments posted losses.

SoftBank has been monetizing some of its investments, having recently sold at least $7.9 billion in shares of Alibaba to raise capital.

Separately, Softbank said it would sell its stake in Finnish game developer Supercell to Chinese technology firm Tencent.

Tokyo-based Softbank said in a statement Tuesday it would no longer own any stake in Supercell, and Tencent will gain up to 84 percent of Supercell, upon completion of the deal. The deal valued the Finnish company at about $10.2 billion in total.

The statement said the rest of Supercell would be owned by its employees, and the team at Supercell would continue to run the company's operations in Helsinki, Finland.

Supercell, founded in 2010, developed games for Apple and Google's Android smartphones and tablets, including hits such as "Hay Day," ''Clash of Clans" and "Boom Beach."

— CNBC's David Faber and Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


This report has been updated to reflect that the Tencent-Supercell deal valued Supercell at $10.2 billion in total.