Markets

Softbank's Uber stake is up 18% despite investor complaints, says top executive Marcelo Claure

WeWork Executive Chairman Marcelo Claure during an interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin at WeWork headquarters in New York City on February 10, 2020.
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Key Points
  • SoftBank executive Marcelo Claure  said the Vision Fund's stake in ride-sharing company Uber is up 18% and touted the position as an example of what should attract investors to its Vision Fund 2.
  • Asked to address recent reports that SoftBank is struggling to raise capital for its second Vision Fund, Claure said it's still "too early" to make conclusions.
  • "Performance is key and Vision Fund 1 performance — once you start getting away from the media and the craziness and all that — the fund's performing well," Claure said.
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SoftBank executive Marcelo Claure said Monday the Vision Fund's stake in ride-sharing company Uber is up 18% and touted the position as an example of what should attract investors to a forthcoming Vision Fund 2.

"Obviously, performance is key and Vision Fund 1 performance — once you start getting away from the media and the craziness and all that — the fund's performing well," Claure told CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin.

Asked to address recent reports that SoftBank is struggling to raise capital for its second Vision fund, Claure said it's still "too early" to make conclusions about the final size of the pool and the composition of the funds.

Reports from the Wall Street Journal and others say SoftBank is on track to raise about half of the $108 billion promised by executives last summer after investors, disenchanted by flops like WeWork and irregular operations, refused to dole out the necessary cash.

"You've got to put things in perspective," Claure said Monday. "We've had a lot of complaints about Uber. Well, Uber is up, I think, 18% from where we invested. Lots of complaints about WeWork: We feel very good that we have a great plan for WeWork."

"So I think as things start to calm down and you start seeing that Uber was a good investment (ridesharing has an incredible amount of potential), that WeWork has a plan and once we start executing quarter over quarter you're going to see that potentially the additional Vision funds are going to come along."

Claure's optimism on Monday comes on the heels of a turbulent 2019 for the first Vision Fund as some of SoftBank's biggest investments made headlines for performance ranging from lackluster to tragic.

The original Vision Fund — one of the company's largest pools through which it invested in promising young companies — was forced to take billion-dollar write-downs on WeWork, Slack Technologies and Uber.

The need for a write-down was further apparent after the office-sharing company revealed a $900 million loss in its prospectus and reneged on plans to go public. SoftBank was then forced to broker the ouster of former WeWork chief executive Adam Neumann, who was offered $1.7 billion to depart the company and surrender his voting rights.

But Claure also told CNBC on Monday that it's "totally false" to say Neumann walked away with over $1 billion since so much of that figure was a transaction for his equity.