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SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son stops shining on Alibaba's board

'My work here is done, but my day job just got complicated' is the gist of it

SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son will depart Alibaba's board to focus on his main business as it struggles during the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement, which Son made at his annual presentation to investors today, comes after Alibaba's own founder, Jack Ma, left SoftBank's board in May after 13 years of service. Ma's company is one of SoftBank's most successful investments, racking up about $600bn for the Japanese conglomerate.

Neither man indicated that animosity lay behind the moves, with Son saying he was simply "graduating" from his most successful investment.

Son, who recently compared himself to Jesus (because he's misunderstood), also told investors that the group's shareholder value now stood at $218bn, surpassing its pre-coronavirus values and more than double its current market cap.

"During the recovery process, SoftBank's stock price halved. I think the market over-shot to the downside," Son said during the presentation. "I think it overreacted."

The update to investors comes after SoftBank reported a mammoth $13bn loss for 2019. The group announced it would sell its stake in T-Mobile earlier this week, which could earn it as much as $20bn.

The sale comes as part of Son's $42bn fire sale of assets to shore up the group's balance sheets amid what Son has called the company's struggles in a "coronavirus valley".

In tenuously related news, Alibaba's logistics arm Cainiao this week outlined new investments designed to help it reach the goal of 24-hour delivery within China and 72 hours globally.

To do so, the company has quadrupled its airfreight charters from 260 to 1,260 over the next nine months, which would bring its average international delivery time down to three to five days as opposed to the current time frame of seven to 10 days. It's also doubling the size of its warehouses around the world to speed up shipments of goods from China. ®

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